Mapeza praises Prince Dube

HARARE - Although he did not score on his international debut for Zimbabwe at the weekend, Warriors interim coach Norman Mapeza believes young striker Prince “Gaddafi” Dube is the real deal.

After firing Bosso’s development side Highlanders 90 to promotion into the Southern Region Division One in 2015, Dube was promoted to the senior side last season.

Dube went on to score five goals in his maiden season in the top flight in 2016 and was also named the Castle Lager Rookie of the Year in the process.

On Sunday, the Bosso forward was handed his first Warriors start in the friendly international against Zambia at the National Sports Stadium.

The former Young Warriors player made some good runs and kept Chipolopolo defenders on their toes which left a good impression on Mapeza.

As one of Zimbabwe’s most decorated former players, Mapeza certainly knows what it takes to be a Warriors great and believes the 20-year-old Dube has the qualities to make a name for himself with the national team.

“Dube did well, he is still young, full of energy and I think he just needs to be given some bit of time,” the former Galatarasy defender said after the goalless draw against the 2012 African champions.

“I think he will be a good future player for this country.”

While 2016 was his breakthrough year, 2017 could be the year Dube is crowned as a king of local football as he will be the Highlanders focal point when the new season commences next month.

The Bulawayo giants will begin their season with a local derby against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium.

Apparently, the fixtures seem to favour Bosso as they will play only 12 matches outside the City of Kings giving them a major advantage over their title rivals like FC Platinum, CAPS United and Dynamos.

Coach Erol Akbay retained most of the players who helped the club finish in third last season.

Bosso have signed striker Roderick Mutuma after he was shown the exit door by Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa due to indiscipline.

Mutuma, however, seems to have done enough to win over the Bosso fans following his outstanding performance against FC Platinum in the ZNA Charities semi-final in which he provided two assists.

Dube scored twice that afternoon as Bosso ran out 3-0 winners on their way to the final.

Without their star forward on Saturday, Highlanders fired blanks as they lost the final of the competition to CAPS United 3-2 after a penalty shootout.

The match had finished goalless in regulation time and went straight into a penalty shootout.

Apart from Mutuma, Highlanders have also secured the services of another striker from Equatorial Guinea, Manuel Esono Obiang Buale and Tambwe Kalunga of DR Congo, who turned out for relegated Beitbridge-based Premiership side Border Strikers last season.

The Bulawayo giants also roped in midfielder Denzel Khumalo who joined from Bantu Rovers while former Motor Action winger Yves Ebabali is also reported to have impressed Bosso coach Akbay and might sign on the dotted line anytime soon.

Despite all these arrivals, Dube at the moment remains Bosso’s main man upfront and playing with a seasoned partner like Mutuma might be a good blessing for the young forward, who is still learning the craft of his trade.

With all the attention of defenders falling on the former Dynamos forward, Dube should use the opportunity to get onto the score sheet more regularly in 2017.

Last season, he was just a mere greenhorn, who had graduated from the Bosso juniors, but now Dube is a fully-fledged international with the world at his feet.

Starting the new season with an endorsement from Mapeza might spur him to reach the potential he has already shown in his short career.

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