Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
ALL roads today lead to Barbourfields Stadium where Bulawayo giants Highlanders and Caps United clash in the ZNA Commander’s Charity Shield final.
It is a match that promises to be full of thrills that has become the norm when these two side meet.
“I always look forward to our games against Highlanders, there is total football and one can actually feel the tension which is different from our matches against Dynamos which are always full of emotions but lack ingenuity on the field,” said Caps United president Farai Jere.
The final however will be without eight key players from both sides as a result of national team commitment and injuries. Vice captain, Rahman Kutsanzira has a swollen toe from the semifinal game against FC Platinum and has been ruled out of today’s clash as well as the season opener against Bulawayo City next weekend. His other teammates, goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, star defender Peter Muduhwa, young striker Prince Dube were called up for the Warriors’ international friendly against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium. They were called up together with the Caps United quartet of goalkeeper Edmore ‘Zikeeper’ Sibanda, defender Dennis Dauda, midfielders Devon Chafa and Ronald Chitiyo. Highlanders coach Erol Akbay concedes that the absence of the four players would slightly affect his game as they have been preparing their onslaught with them in mind but says they are not pressing red buttons.
“We will miss them obviously but we have other players who are equally good,” said Akbay. In the absence of Ariel, Highlanders will look up to Prosper Matutu who ironically was the hero when Bosso lifted the 2016 ZNA Commander’s Charities Shield after he saved two spot kicks from Chitiyo and Diro Nyenye to help his side cruise to a 4-2 penalty win over Harare City.
Skipper Erick Mudzingwa is likely to partner Tendai Ndlovu in the heart of defence while a number of capable boys can replace Kutsanzira on the wing although Brian Banda looks the obvious choice.
Unless Bosso play mind games and bench Rodrick Mutuma, Caps United’s defence will obviously keep an eye on the former Dynamos hitman.
Makepekepe will look to the veteran Leonard Tsipa and Simba Nhivi upfront while reigning Soccer Star of the Year Hardlife Zvirekwi will dictate the pace from the back. Influential skipper Moses Muchenje is another player to watch out for as well as Joel Ngodzo.
ZNA Commander Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda is expected to witness the Armageddon among other senior army officers.
Article Source: The Chronicle