BULAWAYO-CHAMPIONS FC Platinum and giants Highlanders are set to get the ball rolling ahead of the start of the 2020 Premiership season when they clash at Barbourfields this afternoon in the curtain-raising Castle Cup.
The match is likely to generate a lot of excitement among the fans because of the several sub-plots involved.
The Castle Cup features the domestic Castle Lager Premiership holders against the Chibuku Super Cup winners.
This will be the first visit to Barbourfields for Dutch coach, Pieter de Jongh, since he left the Chibuku Super Cup champions Highlanders at the end of last season to join the Zvishavane side. De Jongh’s departure did not go down well with some Bosso fans who felt the Dutchman abandoned their team prematurely.
Bosso are now under the leadership of another astute coach, Mark Harrison, and it promises to be a battle of wits on the technical benches this afternoon.
“It’s a big game for everybody involved. It’s a big game for ourselves and for them,” Harrison told reporters during a pre-match press conference.
“It’s one game that we hope to win. I think, in as far as we can go now, we are as ready as we can be. Unfortunately, last week we picked up three or four injuries against Chapungu,” he said.
Bosso look a stable side after they managed to retain the bulk of their squad from last season and Harrison is likely to benefit from that continuity.
The Bulawayo giants have so far won their preparatory friendly matches against Black Rhinos 1-0 and Moses Chunga’s Chapungu, who they beat 2-1 last week.
British coach Harrison, who has previously worked with CAPS United and Harare City, has brought on board veterans, Mkhokheli Dube and Mitchell Katsvairo.
He also signed Aces Youth Academy product Collin Mujuru, defender Cardwell Gavaza, Humphrey Ncube and goalkeeper Chris Mverechena to give a balance to a Bosso squad that lost Denzel Khumalo, McClive Phiri, Ben Musaka and Munyaradzi Chitambwe early this year.
De Jongh is also expecting a good outing basing on his inside knowledge of the Highlanders players. He helped Bosso end a four-year silverware drought by winning the Chibuku Super Cup, which guaranteed them the ticket to feature in today’s season opener.
De Jongh has already hit the ground running with FC Platinum, having been involved in the CAF Champions League campaign.
The Zvishavane club have added weight to their squad by signing a number of players who include 2019 Soccer Star runner-up Ralph Kawondera from Triangle, as well as Denzel Khumalo from Bosso.
They have also taken on board former Zimbabwe international, Silas Songani, who had been playing in Denmark.
FC Platinum also have the exciting duo of Last Jesi and Stanley Ngala, whom they captured from Manica Diamonds, Donald Dzvinyai from Triangle United, ex-ZPC Kariba’s Godswill Gwara and Nomore Chinyerere from Hwange.
The platinum miners are looking beyond winning a fourth straight domestic league title as they have CAF Champions League football commitments coming up again in August.
And, for that reason they have reached out beyond the borders to bring in Tanzanian striker Elias Maguri and the Congolese duo of Felly Mulumba and Ellie Ilunga. Herald