Blockbuster at Barbourfields

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By Sheldon Hakata

CASTLE LAGER PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE focus will be turned to Barbourfields Stadium when giants Highlanders and Dynamos renew their rivalry in a blockbuster tie on Sunday.
The match, dubbed ‘The Battle of Zimbabwe’, will be played just about the same time the country’s senior men’s national soccer team take on Congo in Brazzaville. However, this has done little to dissipate the excitement that has gripped the nation ahead of Sunday’s match.
The Warriors will take on Congo-Brazzaville as they seek to consolidate the stranglehold on Group G in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
Although Sunday’s game will be played on the same day with the AFCON qualifier between Congo-Brazzaville and Zimbabwe in Brazzaville, the Warriors do not have any players from the two Premiership giants, a first in more than a decade.
So poor have been the two giants’ performance in the current season that it has not come as a surprise that they have failed to provide players for the national team.
The Premier Soccer League announced on Monday that the biggest club fixture in the domestic game will be played at Barbourfields on Sunday.
The high stakes match was postponed twice in the past three weeks for various reasons.
The two giants met in the President Emmerson Mnangagwa Inauguration Cup which DeMbare won 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium on August 26 2018.
After shelving the game for some time, the PSL sought to take advantage of the international break to slot the fixture for Sunday and ensure Bosso and DeMbare catch up with the other teams who, however, will be on a recess.
The PSL have also chosen to use the weekend to slot in a Chibuku Super Cup first round play-off between Chapungu and Mutare City at Ascot Stadium on Saturday.
But all eyes will be on the Bulawayo match as the two giants seek to claim bragging rights in the age-long rivalry.
Bosso won the first instalment of this year’s Battle of Zimbabwe series 1-0 at Rufaro Stadium in April.
Dynamos will, however, be fancying their chances after picking some form which has seen them going for three consecutive matches without defeat.
The return of Mukamba and Amidu seems to have worked well for Dynamos.
‘Badboy’ Mukamba has since inspired the team to two victories and a draw in their last three matches.
Kingstone Nkatha is set to make his debut for the Harare giants, Dynamos, in Bulawayo.
The forceful forward signed for the Glamour Boys as a free agent from South African Premiership side SuperSport more than a month ago.
He, however, could not feature for them as his clearance from SuperSport had arrived after the closure of the transfer window on July 31.
Nkatha had to wait for the expiry of the 30-day period.
With the required time frame having lapsed at the weekend, Dynamos who had already registered the player with the PSL, are just waiting for international transfer certificate (ITC) from South African Football Association (SAFA) for him to be licensed.
Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu might have been frustrated by the club’s failure to land striker Prince Dube during the transfer window.
The striker returned home from South Africa earlier this year from SuperSport United and it was believed Bosso were close to sealing a loan deal with the striker before the move fell through.
The Bulawayo giants were also unsuccessful in their pursuit of their former forward Thomas Chideu after his return from South Africa after his contract was terminated by Golden Arrows.
Chideu, however, ended up signing for FC Platinum despite training for a brief period with Bosso.
Another school of thought says Ndlovu is not happy with the performance of some senior players in the squad and is now ready to wield the axe.
The Highlanders legend is also adamant the young players in the team have shown positives and his side is making progress.
This is a big game for both teams.
There is a lot at stake and no team wants to lose this one.
Both parties want to represent their towns with pride and distinction by emerging victors.
The two giants played their last matches at Barbourfields with Dynamos beating Bulawayo City on Saturday.
In contrast, Bosso have been poor in their last five matches losing to Chicken Inn in a midweek encounter and fell to title-chasing Ngezi Platinum Stars on Sunday.
Bosso vice-captain Gabriel Nyoni scored in that defeat.
But having won the reverse fixture in Harare, Highlanders should be high on confidence on Sunday.
Bosso are currently in sixth place on the log standings with 36 points off 23 matches, with their chances of winning the title virtually over.
Dynamos will be desperate to build from their previous performances
They have moved up the ladder to 11th on the log table with 29 points from 23 matches.
Bosso, on the other hand, will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways having managed a draw and two defeats in their last three matches.

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