HARARE – Highlanders will be hoping to bounce back from their humbling defeat to Monomotapa last weekend when they host Black Mambas at Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon.
The Bulawayo giants suffered their first defeat of the season after a 23-match unbeaten run going down 3-0 to Monomotapa at Rufaro Stadium.
Bosso’s slip-up allowed Dynamos to regain pole position on the log with 55 points while the Bulawayo giants remained on 53 points.
Although Black mambas have been fighting relegation this season they will not be push-overs and will be expected to give Highlanders a tough run for their money.
The police side currently occupy 11th place on the log with 28 points and will be buoyed by their 2-0 midweek win over struggling Hwange last Wednesday.
Highlanders’ Zambian mentor Kelvin Kaindu, who has against all odds turned Bosso into title contenders, is optimistic that his team will put last weekend’s defeat behind them.
“We are prepared for them (Black Mambas) like any other team, they are coming from a 2-0 win over Hwange while we just lost our first match of the season to Monomotapa but the most important thing is to accept the result and focus on game by game,” Kaindu told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.
“The defeat came with some psychological effect. It was something that we knew would come at some point but never expected that it would happen at that time.
“Everyone within the team understands the importance of tomorrow’s (today) game and I’m sure we are ready to bounce back.”
Highlanders had enjoyed marginal wins in recent games and the defeat could come as a wakeup call for them to up their tempo if they are to keep pace with Dynamos.
“The goal still remains; we are building a team that can compete next season and if we win the championship this season it will be a bonus for us, it’s only that the expectations from the fans is too high and they believe this year is the appointed time,” he said.
Bruce Tshuma is expected to undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability for today’s game while Bevan Chikaka, who lost his brother last week is also not available for selection.
Black Mambas assistant coach Martin Bonongwe expects to capitalise on Bosso slump and brighten Warumwa Warumwa’s survival chances.
“I think the fact that they are coming from their first defeat might just be an advantage to us because they will likely temper with their formation in view of bouncing back to winning ways,” Bonongwe said.
“We just hope that we will be fortunate enough to collect maximum points at Barbourfields, we only need to employ a positive approach because we are not yet safe from relegation, which makes the win mandatory.”