DeMbare, Bosso icon Makwinji stokes up fires

HARARE – Makwinji Soma-Phiri, who is considered a legend at both Highlanders and Dynamos, has dubbed Sunday’s epic clash between the two giants of Zimbabwean football “the biggest game of the year”, saying the tie will not be decided by history or form.

The retired prolific striker – remembered mostly at a free-scoring forward at Dynamos and well-known for his ability to score goals with his head – reckons the match will come down to the strength of character of both sets of players.

History seems to favour Dynamos, who last lost to Highlanders in the league in 2006, the year Bosso were last crowned champions of Zimbabwe.

But leaders Highlanders, who are two points clear of second-placed Dynamos with five games to go in the Castle Premiership, are the form side. 

“I’m thinking Highlanders will be under pressure, they are the form team, they will be playing in front of their home crowd,” Soma-Phiri told the Daily News.

“I can imagine the atmosphere, it will be something else.”

Part of a special group of players to cross the Great Divide between Dynamos and Highlanders, Soma-Phiri was a member of the famous Dynamos team that reached the African Champions League final in 1998.

The robust ex-striker goes on to say the Glamour Boys come into this match as underdogs.

“Dynamos are the underdogs, form-wise. It will be very difficult for Dynamos to come out of Barbourfields with a positive result,” he said.

“But this is one of those games were the form book is torn apart. I was talking to my friend the other day saying that this is the biggest game of the year. The hype surrounding this match speaks for itself. The game will come to down to who is better prepared. Who has got the big nerves for the big stage. Once you are on the field, it’s all about who once it more.”

Understandably, the man nicknamed “Kwinji 15” by the fans declined to predict the result, admitting that his loyalty was torn between the two clubs.

“May the best team win,” said Soma-Phiri, now 43.

“It’s all about who will absorb the pressure more. The team that maintain a cool head from the beginning will go all the way to win.  I think I’m the son of both teams, I’m torn apart. I was raised at Highlanders and I grew up at Dynamos, so I wouldn’t want to choose.”

Asked to reveal the team he will be supporting on the big day, Makwinji only laughed and said:  “I will be supporting football.”

Fixtures

Saturday: FC Platinum v Shabanie Mine FC (Mandava, SS9), Motor Action v Black Rhinos (Motor Action, CAPS United v How Mine (National Sports Stadium), Harare City v Buffaloes (Rufaro), Tripple B v Triangle (Dulibadzimu).

Sunday: Hwange v Black Mambas (Colliery), Highlanders v Dynamos (Barbourfields, SS9), Monomotapa v Chicken Inn (Gwanzura).

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