MINNOWS How Mine and Buffaloes will be hoping for giant-killing acts when they respectively take on Dynamos and Highlanders in the Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter-finals this afternoon.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
How Mine, who shocked Dynamos within a 1-0 win in a league match in Bulawayo in July, travel to Dynamos’s fortress of Rufaro while Buffaloes and Highlanders clash in neutral ground at Masvingo’s Mucheke Stadium.
The excitement surrounding the battle at Rufaro has been aided by the prospects of both teams fielding a Simba Sithole in their line ups.
This follows Dynamos’ obtaining a reverse international clearance for the striker who was recently offloaded by South African side Supersport United, while How Mine also have another Simba Sithole on their books.
However, not even the expected presence of Dynamos’ Sithole has given the Dynamos camp confidence as they are wary of How Mine’s threat.
“There are no small teams in Cup games. We just hope to use home advantage because How Mine are a good side,” said the team’s manager Richard Chihoro.
He however, said there are no injury worries in the camp with the return of Ocean Mushure, Oscar Machapa and Russel Madamombe who missed the 1-1 draw against Monomotaopa last weekend.
“I am happy that all our players are available for selection in this game. We have to win this game because we want to retain the Cup,” he said.
Chihoro’s lack of confidence might be stemming from his side’s stuttering 4-2 loss to Hwange, followed by their 1-1 draw against Monomotapa last weekend.
This seemingly loss of form seems to have given How Mine coach Philani Ncube reason to believe that his side can win the match to gatecrash into the semifinals of the country’s richest knockout tournament.
He could also be drawing confidence from the shock 1-0 victory his side registered over Dynamos in July in a league match.
“Dynamos are the favourites to win this match, but we will do our best. We also want to reach the final like any other team. There are no injuries in the team,” he said.
At Mucheke, Bosso will be hoping to exorcise the ghost of losing to FC Platinum in the BancABC Cup at the same venue with a victory over Buffaloes.
However, Buffaloes are no push overs, and could have beaten Bosso last weekend had it not been for Lloyd Katongomara’s own goal in the dying stages of the match at Sakubva. The team’s coach Timothy Masachi expressed confidence that his side will progress to the next stage.
“If we manage to beat Highlanders, I am sure we will reach the final. They are one of the tough teams to beat, and it is good that we faced them last weekend as that gave us a chance to measure ourselves. We nearly beat them last weekend, but luck was not on our side,” he said.
Masachi will however, have to do without his reliable scorer Jacob Muzokomba who is injured.
Highlanders coach Kelvin “KK” Kaindu said his team was well-prepared for the match, despite failing to beat the same opponents last weekend.
“We have done our part in terms of preparedness. We hope to qualify for the next stage of the competition,” Kaindu said.
He added that play maker Peter “Rio” Moyo will not be available for selection, as he has not fully recovered from a knee injury.