It’s Mbada Cup final


By Alvin Madzivanzira

THE third edition of the Bulawayo derby pitting Highlanders and How Mine puts an icing on the cake on the just ended thrilling Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL).
Highlanders meet their nemesis How Mine this Saturday at Barbourfields in a Mbada Diamonds Cup final match.
The match promises to be a thriller as the two Bulawayo sides clash for the first time in a cup game.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup is the remaining silverware hope for Highlanders this year after narrowly missing on the league title.
They lost it again on goal difference as Dynamos retained the championship on superior goal difference.
On two consecutive occasions, Highlanders have been the league bridesmaids and they will do everything possible to grab the Mbada Diamonds Cup, but How Mine are no pushovers.
Both teams have been forces to reckon with this season.
How Mine have been giant killers in the 2013 campaign.
In the Mbada Diamonds Cup, the debutants have upset Dynamos and CAPS United to reach the final. In the league, they completed a double over Highlanders.
In the first leg, the Bulawayo giants were shocked with a 1-2 defeat.
It was a match when Herbert Dick scored a brace, an own goal and an equaliser before Nqobile Mpala, former Highlanders striker, scored the winner.
They completed a double on September 15 with a 1-0 win.
How Mine are a new team, but it’s a squad of veterans.
Both sides are experienced and have what it takes to win the cup.
Dynamos had won the first and second editions before they were booted out by How Mine.
With veterans such as Herbert Dick, Menard Mupera and Gilbert Banda, among others, the soccer fans will be in for a treat.
With gate fees pegged at US$1 for rest of the ground, a bumper crowd is expected to throng the 30 000 seater stadium.
Highlanders have a strong support base while the debutants have a small support base and may struggle to fill one bay at Barbourfields.
However, fans for other teams may adopt How Mine for the match and support the miners.
During the semi-final match at the National Sports Stadium, Dynamos fans rallied behind How Mine as they beat CAPS United on penalties.
Kelvin Kaindu will have another chance to clinch his maiden cup at Highlanders after losing the league title twice to Dynamos.
Kaindu whose contract expires at the end of the season will need some silverware to justify his contract’s extension.
Between the posts, Kaindu may use tried and tested goalie, Munyaradzi Diya.
The former Zimbabwe Saints shotstopper is a soccer star finalist for 2014.
He has had a decent season with some call-ups for national duty with the Warriors.
In the central defence, Innocent Mapuranga and Dumisani Ndlovu may partner in the rear guard.
Bruce Kangwa and Eric Mudzingwa are the likely options for the left and right back positions respectively.
The middle of the park will be the epicentre of the diamonds war as the two teams are gifted with talented midfielders.
Lanky Bhekimpilo Ncube and Masimba Mambare are the possible candidates for the midfield positions.
Upfront Gabriel Nyoni may get the responsibility for goals.
Ozias Zibande is another probable candidate for the position, but he is still a green horn.
The inclusion of experienced Njabulo Ncube in the Highlanders attack will boost the chances of scoring against the tough How Mine defence likely to be marshalled by Dick and Banda.
Philani ‘Beefy’ Mabhena will become a hero if he wins for the third time against the same opponent.
How Mine have made a record in the history of the Diamonds Cup becoming the first team to reach the final in their first year in the Premiership.
Other players expected to make it into the How Mine squad include midfielder Timothy January, veteran goal keeper Ephraim Mazarura, Kumbulani Banda and Mpala, among others.
So this Saturday, all roads lead to Barbourfields Stadium where the Diamonds Cup will be handed to its rightful owners.
Both teams are guaranteed of at least US$90 000, before the game.
The winner will pocket US$130 000 and a US$110 000 subsidy to participate in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup next season.


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