PSL preview no12: Tough start for Bantu Rovers

BULAWAYO - Returnees Bantu Rovers have not enjoyed the luck of the draw when it comes to the 2014 Castle Premier League fixtures.

Tshintsha Guluva will kick off their season with a tricky home fixture against Black Rhinos before squaring up against teams that represented Zimbabwe in continental competitions this year, How Mine and Dynamos, in their next two games.

And for a team that has been wallowing in the unfashionable world of first division football in the last couple of years, the Rovers technical team is aware that how they fare in their first games may determine their fate in the country’s elite league.

“We have to start well because a bad start may result in the team losing confidence so we are looking forward to getting a positive result in our first game,” said Bantu assistant coach Mandla Mpofu.

Rovers may fancy their chances against army side Black Rhinos, who survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, but their next two matches will be much trickier as How Mine and Dynamos have long achieved match fitness through their participation in continental football competition.

Premiership veterans Zephaniah Ngodzo, Sizalobuhle Dube, Lawson Nkomo and Obadiah Tarumbwa will be expected to guide their less experienced teammates navigate the treacherous waters of top flight football.

Tshintsha Guluva also boast of experience in their technical team with 2006 Premiership winning coach Methembe Ndlovu in charge of the coaching department.

His assistant Mpofu was previously in charge of fellow top flight side Chicken Inn, with who he won the NetOne Charity Shield last season.

Bantu Rovers, who make a return to the top-flight after merging with 2013 Southern Region Division One champions Bulawayo Chiefs, are known for their willingness to give a chance to young talent to shine.

The likes of Kuda Mahachi and Marvellous Nakamba are examples of players that blossomed at an early age after being given a platform by the club.

Some of the young players that have been bubbling under and may finally break into the limelight in the top flight include former Young Warriors skipper Nqobizitha Masuku, who has in the past attracted the attention of Warriors coach Ian Gorowa.

Another player who may catch the attention of the football loving public is teenage sensation Bukhosi Sibanda.

A regular in the Nash Coca – Cola schools team that represents the country in regional competition, Sibanda is a fearless midfielder who has also played for the national Under -17 team.

Bantu also have some international flavour in their ranks in the form of Americans Greg Klazura and Mike Rose.

The Bulawayo side is likely to struggle on their return to the top-flight and are likely to be fighting relegation for most of the season.

The Bantu-Chiefs major timing is likely to be one of their Achilles heel as it was announced in February this year which might have given the club little time to come up with a formidable side to compete in the PSL.    

Daily News predicated position: 14th

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