Bosso carry region’s hopes in Mbada
BULAWAYO – Bulawayo giants Highlanders are now the Southern Region’s sole candidate for glory in the lucrative Mbada Diamonds Cup competition after Hwange, Quelaton and Chicken Inn failed to negotiate their way past the first round at the weekend.
Highlanders did not have it easy themselves as they unconvincingly beat a stubborn Blue Rangers 2-1 in an ill-tempered match on Saturday.
Upcoming striker Ozias Zibande scored a late winner at Barbourfields Stadium to earn his side a berth in the quarterfinals, where they will meet with unpredictable Monomotapa, who prevailed over Hardbody in Beitbridge.
Rangers could have claimed a big scalp on Saturday had they played for a win instead of employing time-wasting antics aimed at pushing the game towards a penalty shoot–out.
Highlanders played like a side that is very low on confidence with veteran skipper Innocent Mapuranga playing like a novice. Mapuranga was not comfortable on the ball, leading to him committing many unforced errors.
Crowd favourite Peter Moyo was lacklustre and failed to last the distance after he was pulled out for Zibande just after halftime.
In the quarterfinals, Highlanders will be faced with the attacking threat of Monomotapa’s impressive forwards Tawanda Nyamandwe and Kuda Musharu.
The striking pair’s running on and off the ball gave Mapuranga and his then skipper Gilbert Banda a torrid time when they were with Motor Action last year and Saturday’s man-of-the-match Eric Mudzingwa may find himself working overtime if his captain is still off form.
On Sunday, Premiership strugglers Quelaton put up a brave performance by taking Harare giants Dynamos to a penalty shoot-out but city neighbours Chicken Inn must be kicking themselves after being bundled out by youthful Gunners at Pelandaba.
The Gamecocks were outplayed by Moses Chunga’s charges in extremely cold conditions as youthful exuberance triumphed over experience.
Gunners refused to be overawed by their more experienced opponents and their fearless attacking was rewarded when Ishmael Lawe struck the winner in injury time to book a quarterfinal spot.
Coalminers Hwange may need to do some soul-searching after losing to Shabanie Mine for the third time within a short period of time.
Chipangano recently lost both their league matches to the Chinda Boys and going down to the same team in the country’s richest cup competition must be a bitter pill to swallow. – Sakheleni Nxumalo