BULAWAYO – Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu believes mental strength will be crucial in his team’s Mbada Diamonds Cup final against How Mine at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
The Bulawayo giants experienced heartbreak last Sunday when their dream of a league and cup double went up in smoke after Dynamos beat them to the Castle Premiership title on goal difference and their Zambian coach reckons his charges’ ability to put that disappointment behind them will be key.
“It’s not going to be easy but with determination victory is possible especially if you look at the way we have played in the previous rounds, the approach has been quite different,” Kaindu said.
“My only worry is on the players' mental character in terms of becoming a champion. That is one thing that we have to work on with our players because they have done well in terms of playing but that mental character is missing.”
And although he acknowledged the fact that his charges lost twice to their less illustrious opponents in the just ended Castle Premiership season, Kaindu felt that his team had just been unlucky to finish on the losing end in those matches.
“If you look at the two games that we played against How Mine and look at the statistics I think it was unfortunate that we lost because we were the better side in both games but we were just unlucky to concede,” Kaindu added.
Highlanders lost 2-1 to How Mine in the first half of the Castle Premiership season before going down 1-0 in the reverse fixture.
An interesting factor about the Saturday fixture is that it is more like a tie between the current Highlanders team and a former Highlanders XI as the majority of players in the How Mine squad have ties with Bosso.
The likes of Brighton Dube, Gilbert Banda, Herbert Dick, Menard Mupera, Thembani Masuku, Simon Njeleza, Brighton Choto, Nqobile Mpala, Ocean Mpofu, Qinani Sibanda, Warren Dube and Arnold Ndiweni have had flirtations with Highlanders.
It will be interesting therefore to see who will prevail between the two teams as the current Bosso players wouldn’t fancy another defeat to former Highlanders players, some who were turned away when they wanted to return to the club at the beginning of the year.
Another interesting sideshow in the run up to the final is the prophecy by Prophet Blessing Chiza of Eagle Life Assemblies in Bulawayo who predicted a victory for Highlanders but on condition that the team does not use Juju.
Dabbling in the supernatural is something that has always been part of local football and it will be interesting to see if the prophecy will come true given that Bosso’s opponents at the weekend have been at the forefront when it comes to issues to do with Juju this season.