HARARE – After losing the Castle Premiership title to eventual winners Dynamos last year, Bulawayo giants Highlanders have made their intentions clear for this year’s title race.
Kelvin Kaindu’s men and DeMbare fought an intriguing battle last year that only needed goal difference to separate the two giants of Zimbabwean football on the last day of the season after both sides ended tied on 69 points.
Bosso assumed Castle Premiership leadership on the log standings for the first time this year after thumping stubborn army side Buffaloes 3-0 at Barbourfields Stadium over the weekend.
Highlanders have the same number of points as FC Platinum, but they go top of the standings by virtue of a superior goal difference, having won six matches drawn one and lost one.
They have scored a massive 16 goals and conceded only six times after eight rounds of matches.
Prior to their weekend match, Highlanders came up against a team high on confidence after Saul Chaminuka’s charges had enjoyed a five-game winning streak in their previous assignments.
The Mutare army side had a slow start to the season, succumbing to two consecutive defeats at the hands of Platinum and Monomotapa in their opening two matches, but they picked up the pieces and registered an impressive five wins on the trot.
But Highlanders, who are leading rivals Dynamos by seven points, eager to avoid last year’s disappointment put up a performance that was rich in quality as it was rich in style to condemn Buffaloes to their third defeat of the season.
Highlanders, unlike most of their rivals in the league, retained most of their players from last year’s campaign and look a solid unit.
They are well-balanced in all departments.
Goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya has turned into a rock on which their championship dreams can certainly be built.
In defence, skipper Innocent Mapuranga has picked up from where he left last year while Mthulisi Maphosa keeps providing that gritty in the midfield, with Njabulo Ncube and Milton Ncube proving to be handful for most defenders upfront.
Dynamos, on the other hand, believe they have finally struck the right chord to defend their title.
After the weekend’s impressive 3-0 win against Monomotapa, veteran midfielder Murape Murape, who has led by example at the club, insisted it is still early to write his team off.
“It was a good game for us, managing those three points especially coming from the background of several draws,” he said.
“The boys played well and we hope we will keep on with that kind of attitude to win more matches. We have been playing well but it’s only that the results have not been coming our way.
“But one good thing is that we have never doubted our ability to win matches. We have a lot of new youngsters playing and they are beginning to gel and understand each other, which is a plus for the team.
“There are still a lot of matches to come and we just need to keep on working hard. We need to keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on our game without looking at what is going on at other clubs.”
On Sunday, DeMbare turned on the power in the first half to thump Monoz 0-3 with goals from Tawanda Muparati and a brace by former CAPS united captain Washington Pakamisa.
Former champions CAPS United continue to stutter after a promising start and at the weekend they were beaten 3-2 by Shabanie Mine.
The Green Machine though went into the weekend match missing several key players, who were ruled out by injuries.
But things are looking good for new boys How Mine, who beat Black Rhinos 2-1 to move up to fifth on the log table. – Godknows Matarutse