Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
GIANTS Dynamos will hope to put their financial challenges behind them when they clash against Highlanders at the weekend.
The Glamour Boys, who are facing serious financial difficulties following the downward revision of their package from their principal sponsors BancABC, have been finding it difficult to maintain the huge salary bill.
Both teams are sponsored by BancABC and have suffered the same fate after the financial institution decided to cut its expenditure on football.
DeMbare team manager Richard Chihoro, who has always distanced himself from administrative issues, yesterday painted a bright picture of the situation in their camp.
Having lost back-to-back league matches last year, he said the Glamour Boys are content being the underdogs going into the match.
Chihoro, however, warned their rivals to brace for a tough encounter.
He said the Glamour Boys are drawing confidence from their win over the Bulawayo giants in the Independence Cup final recently. “This is probably the biggest game on the calendar and we usually look forward to this game. It’s a big match. Of course, we are the underdogs.
“Remember we lost twice to them in the league last year, but that is now in the past.
“They also shouldn’t forget that we beat them recently in a cup match. It doesn’t matter we won through penalties; a win is a win and it should give our youngsters confidence,” said Chihoro.
In their most recent meeting, DeMbare needed a 3-2 penalty shootout win to lift the Uhuru Cup after veteran Ralph Matema had forced the match into a shootout with an injury time equaliser.
Masimba Mambare scored for the Harare giants after the interval to put the Glamour Boys on course for a slender win.
The Bulawayo giants have benefited from the continuity they had from last season.
Their coach Erol Akbay has maintained most of the players from the team that settled for bronze in the championship last year with striker Rodreck Mutuma crossing the divide from DeMbare to add to Bosso’s ranks.
The gulf of experience between the two sides should be an advantage to them.
Highlanders have maintained the sturdy old look.
The likes of Matema, Rahman Kutsanzira, Simon Munawa, Honest Moyo, Erick Mudzingwa, Gabriel Nyoni and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda have been together for some time now and will be looking to take it up from where they left last year when they won 2-0 at Rufaro and then finished off their opponents with a 2-1 victory at Barbourfields.
DeMbare have a virtually newlook outfit built around the experience of skipper Ocean Mushure, Obey Mwerahari, Elisha Muroiwa, Denver Mukamba and Masimba Mambare.
The team manager Chihoro said the side has been gelling and their past performances at Barbourfields should help spur them on.
The Glamour Boys welcome one of the many new faces in the Battle of Zimbabwe, Cameroonian Ntouba Joel Christian who has recovered from illness. “If I may repeat this, Barbourfields is our second home ground. We have always played well at the venue over the years.
“This time we have a team of fresh talents eager to make their names. Everyone is looking forward to play a part in this match.
“Experience or no experience, these are the same guys who beat them in the Independence Cup. So we are expecting nothing short of maximum points there,” said Chihoro.
Bosso will be without their leading striker Prince Dube, who has started the season with a bang, as he nurses an injury that will keep him on the sidelines for up to five weeks.
Dube scored when Bosso beat Dynamos at Rufaro last year and has turned himself into the darling of the fans at the country’s oldest football club.
Saturday: How Mine v FC Platinum (Barbourfields, 1:00pm), Bulawayo City v Black Rhinos (Barbourfields, 3:00pm), ZPC Kariba v Tsholotsho (Nyamhunga), Yadah v Chicken Inn (NSS),
Sunday: Hwange v Triangle United (Colliery), Shabanie Mine v Chapungu (Maglas), Harare City v Ngezi Platinum (Morris Depot), Highlanders v Dynamos (Barbourfields),
*CAPS United v Bantu Rovers (Postponed)