Battle of Zimbabwe IV …Highlanders, Dynamos in title decider?

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THE blockbuster Premier Soccer League (PSL) match pitting giants Highlanders and Dynamos will most certainly be the climax of the 2013 season, which has now become a three-horse race.
Barbourfields Stadium, also known as Emagumeni, in Bulawayo will be the epicentre of the Battle of Zimbabwe IV as the black and white army clash with the blue and white army.
All roads will lead to Barbourfields Stadium and a bumper crowd is expected.
Gate charges have been hiked to US$5 for rest of the ground.
The matches involving the country’s two oldest clubs have witnessed heavy attendances and Sunday’s tie is no exception.
A bumper crowd of more than 20 000 is expected to throng Emagumeni.
The high stakes match is a decisive fixture for the 2013 Premiership title.
Separated by two points, Dynamos go into the match in search of nothing, but the crucial three points.
The match is a must win for both teams, but Highlanders are on advantage as a draw will keep them on top of the log while Dynamos will continue trailing the Bulawayo giants.
With a two point lead, Highlanders will be seeking nothing short of victory to edge closer to the coveted trophy that has been so elusive.
Highlanders last won a league title in 2006, but this time around they have an opportunity to land a double.
They are still in the hunt for the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
They will need to beat Harare City to progress to the next round of the country’s richest soccer tournament.
Highlanders that have a sad history against the Harare giants who have been their bogey side will be hoping for a breakthrough.
Head-to-head statistics favour Dynamos.
Since 2002, Highlanders have won four league matches against the Harare giants.
Their last win against Dynamos was in 2006 when they won the two fixtures and went on to win the league.
In the past 23 matches, Dynamos have won nine, while Bosso have won four.
Ten matches ended in stalemates.
If history is anything to go by, Dynamos have an upperhand against the Bulawayo giants Highlanders who have gone for four games without a loss in the PSL.
However, Dynamos have been struggling with form, but last week returned to winning ways claiming the scalp of Tripple B last Sunday.
And Highlanders also thrashed Black Rhinos.
Arthur Tutani, Black Rhinos coach praised Highlanders’ describing Bosso as an ‘oiled machine’.
Highlanders’ form saw them becoming the first team to win in Rimuka Stadium, a venue in which Dynamos, FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine, among others, failed to score.
From defence to midfield and to the strike force, Highlanders are playing as a unit and may get to rewrite history to their favour.
Highlanders will rely on their stalwarts Innocent Mapuranga, Dumisani Ndlovu, Eric Mudzingwa and Bruce Kangwa in defence.
Simon Munava and Mthulisi Maphosa were responsible for the army side’s demise in the middle of the park and Zambian coach Kelvin Kaindu may count on the duo on Sunday.
Peter ‘Rio’ Moyo is another jewel that Kaindu may use in the middle of the park.
Masimba Mambare was also upbeat together with Beaven Chikaka upfront and Mambare was rewarded with a brace in the game.
Lanky Bekimpiko Ncube is another thorn in the flesh that Highlanders may use in the game to outwit Dynamos in the midfield.
Maphosa was influential in the last two games for Bosso, coming in as a substitute.
The introduction of Maphosa in the first half paid dividends for Highlanders as the veteran was involved in the first goal while he scored in Masvingo against Buffaloes in the Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter final match.
Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa will be under pressure to win as it will boost their chances of retaining the title.
With the dreams of a double already shattered, Dynamos’ focus now solely lies in the league title.
The responsibility of scoring might be placed on Simba Sithole and Washington Pakamisa.
Clive Kawinga and Patrick Khumbula are other attacking options for the Glamour boys.
Other players who might play in the Battle of Zimbabwe IV might be Partson Jaure, Gift Bello, Thomas Magorimbo, Ocean Mushure and Oscar Machapa.

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