Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A 25-member Highlanders’ squad arrived in Polokwane, South Africa, last night for a week-long pre-season training camp.
Bosso, who maintained the bulk of their 2016 squad, also took along two new faces — striker Ray Lunga and creative midfielder Denzel Khumalo as part of their 25-player squad.
Lunga, last year’s winner of the Most Outstanding Player accolade at Bosso 90, Highlanders’ developmental side that competes in the Zifa Southern Region Division One League, has been rewarded for his consistent performances in 2016 with a first team call-up.
Khumalo, a national Under-20 midfielder, will be hoping to impress coach Erol Akbay, who said he needs to assess the player in action first before signing him.
Khumalo is a Bantu Rovers player and his club is willing to let him join Highlanders in a direct swap deal. His move to Highlanders, in the event that Akbay is impressed, will see 18-year-old striker McCarthy Dube going the other direction.
Skipper Felix Chindungwe, goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni and left-back Julius Daudi, whose contracts were not renewed when they expired last year, as well as striker Kasimero Chimbadzwa, who was on loan from ZRP FC, are the only players that are not part of the South African tour.
Dube and striker Thembalethu Mthunzi, who were registered under the juniors’ quota, also did not travel for the pre-season camp. Dube has been training with Rovers.
With the core of last season’s squad, which includes goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defenders Peter Muduhwa, Tendai Ndlovu, Honest Moyo and Tendai Ngulube, as well as midfielders Rahman Kutsanzira, Allen Gahadzikwa, Simon Munawa, King Nadolo, Adrian Silla and Brian Banda, Highlanders appear to be a formidable side on paper.
Akbay’s worry has been lack of goals from his strikeforce comprising the injury prone Ralph Matema, Gabriel Nyoni, Nhlanhla Ndlovu and Prince Dube.
Meanwhile, a Bosso official yesterday said the club was yet to secure training matches in South Africa and doubts they will play any topflight side since the Absa PSL resumed yesterday for the second half of the season.
“The team will be based in Polokwane until Sunday. We’re yet to confirm any training games, meaning that if we fail to get any matches, the team should be in Bulawayo by Tuesday (next week),” said the official.
Bosso will await confirmation from Bloemfontein Celtic for a proposed training match set for next week while in Polokwane.
Highlanders’ South African-based members are funding the trip, which will see each player getting a paltry R500 for the week-long tour.
Squad: Brian Banda, Danmore Chakwana, Prince Dube, Allen Gahadzikwa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Ray Lunga, Godfrey Makaruse, Ralph Matema, Prosper Matutu, Honest Moyo, Peter Muduhwa, Erick Mudzingwa, Simon Munawa, King Nadolo, Bukhosi Ncube, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Nkosana Ndlovu, Tendai Ngulube, Tendai Ndlovu, Gabriel Nyoni, Benson Phiri, Ariel Sibanda, Douglas Sibanda, Adrian Silla, Denzel Khumalo.
Article Source: The Chronicle