PSL preview no5: Bosso need to emerge from Dynamos' shadow

BULAWAYO - If Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu had any illusions about how enormous the task of leading the Bulawayo giants to success this season has become, then the Bob90 Super Cup final must have been an eye-opener.

Bosso had, prior to the 2-0 defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Dynamos, been touted as favourites to sweep most of the accolades on offer this year, following their impressive performance on the transfer market.

FINE TUNING: Highlanders players go through their paces during a recent training session ahead pf the start of the 2014 Premiership season at the end of this month.

Tshilamoya were very active on the transfer market, snatching up current Warriors players Kudakwashe Mahachi, Charles Sibanda, Felix Chindungwe as well as former national team players Rahman Kutsanzira and Joel Ngodzo.

Highlanders also added Warriors trialist Welcome Ndiweni, future national team player Valentine Ndaba and experienced keeper Njabulo Nyoni.

These new signings joined an impressive squad that already boasts of a number of high profile players that include Chan 2014 stars Peter “Rio” Moyo and Milton Ncube.

This buying spree inevitably raised the hopes of the multitude of Highlanders fans that have had to suffer the pain of seeing Bosso twice being the bridesmaids as bitter rivals Dynamos lifted the Castle Premiership title in the last three seasons.

A common sentiment emerging among Bosso fans in the various social media pages dedicated to the club is that most of them do not care even if their team does not win the league as long as they beat Dynamos home and away.

That aptly describes the rivalry that exists between the two teams and it is therefore no surprise that the defeat to DeMbare in the Bob90 Super Cup was not well received by Tshilamoya fans.

ALL IN: Highlanders players parade their new adidas kit for the 2014 football season at a Bulawayo hotel.

What has become clear in Highlanders’ pre-season matches is that the new arrivals at the club did not bring the required balance to the side.

For instance, Bosso have lacked a genuine midfield enforcer in the last couple of seasons, while the right-back position has been problematic with a number of players being deployed there with limited success.

And it is a given that any team will struggle without a Claude Makelele type of holding midfielder and this was evident when the Highlanders central midfield played second fiddle to Dynamos at the weekend.

The right-back position has so far this year been assigned to Erick Mudzingwa, but he has failed to impress.

The general feeling among Bosso fans is that the midfielder-turned-defender is more suited to play in central defence rather than as a right back.

Highlanders tried to acquire a midfield enforcer in the form of Chicken Inn’s Danny Phiri but the Warriors player was priced out of their reach.

And the powers-that-be at the club may rue their decision to turn away their former junior Butholezwe “Ncu” Ncube when the player pops up at a rival top flight team.

Ncube, an exceptional holding midfielder who is in his early 20s, was one of the three players that Southern Region Division One outfit Tsholotsho coach Lizwe Sweswe tried to get Highlanders to take a look at towards the end of last year. The players were turned away without being afforded a chance to even train with the Bulawayo giants.

Another young but aggressive anchorman that Highlanders could have signed at a fraction of what Chicken Inn were demanding for Phiri is Peter Muduhwa of Ajax Hotspurs.

Muduhwa and Ncube were ranked as two of the best holding midfielders in the Southern Region Division One last season and the duo has age on their side.

Bosso, however, deemed Muduhwa was also not good enough after attending pre-season training with the club.

It must slowly but surely be sinking into the minds of Highlanders followers that their team could have made the same mistake that Spanish giants Real Madrid made some years ago when they splurged a lot of money on attacking players and neglected a disgruntled Makelele.

Makelele’s gripe with the club was that he was earning far less than his more flamboyant teammates despite the hard work that he was putting in as a defensive shield for the back four but that is a story for another day.

BATTLE: Highlanders have played second fiddle to rivals Dynamos in the last two seasons.

Coach Kaindu has the unenviable task of trying to come up with a championship winning team that can wrest the title away from their perennial rivals Dynamos.

The trick for the Zambian coach would be to select his team on merit and refrain from fielding players based on past glory.

Coaching a big team like Highlanders comes with a lot of football politics and Kaindu has to disregard that in order to achieve success.

Players like Cleopas Dube and Douglas Sibanda, who were reportedly signed without his approval, have struggled for game time but if the truth be told then Dube gave Highlanders a different dimension in attack when he played in the final stages of the 2012 season.

Sibanda on the other hand, showed good positional discipline during his early days at Highlanders and could be the answer to Bosso’s central midfield dilemma if the coach puts his faith on him.

Knowing that a coach has got faith in your abilities can do wonders for a player and those who watched Dube during his early days on loan at 2013 Southern Region champions Bulawayo Chiefs can testify that he is indeed a quality striker.

Kaindu has come under fire from a section of Highlanders fans for failing to implement game changing tactical changes when his charges are down, maybe due to his being a football purist who believes in playing a beautiful passing game.

There are times, however, when a team has got to change tactics and play unattractive football and a player like Dube, who is good in the air, can come in handy when, for instance, a team has to adopt route one football.

The Zambian coach is on record saying that his goal is to do better than last season and the way he manages the tricky issue of team selection given the big name players at his disposal versus the youngsters that are eager to prove their mettle will be key to his success or failure.

Daily News prediction for 2014 season: 2nd

Last season’s position: 2nd

Comments (4)

highlanders will play some wonderful/beautiful football this year. win the league or not they will still be the team to watch and enjoy. i dont believe they will be 2nd position, not at all. they will be moving up or down, but they will be so solid which will truly show what they will be in the coming 5 or so years for those who dare to be patient.

see - 21 March 2014

It is a fact that Bosso will excite again this year but if they fail to win the championship it will be disastrous beacause those big name players will definitely rush to other clubs where there is glory,so Kaindu will be in a cooker cause Bosso fans are also success starved so failure is not an option.

GLAMOURBOY - 21 March 2014

true ,Cleopas and Douglas are being wasted on the bench,good observation

BOSSOLONA - 21 March 2014

Dynamos have been involved in more competitive preseason matches in the African safari. Looking at the issues that preceded the playing of this cup, one is made to believe that it's foolhardy to judge the performance of Highlanders and Dynamos on this match alone. My prediction is that Highlanders will eventually gel up and the best is to come for them this season. As for Dynamos their performance in the African champions is a true testimony that they will eventually lose the steam and number two or three will be their best, otherwise they are poised for a shocker this season. There are more hungrier teams this season and either or both of them may end up falling by the way side especially Dembare!.

Regalia - 21 March 2014

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