PREMIER League title rivals Dynamos and Highlanders will miss key players this weekend when they face Motor Action and Shabanie Mine respectively through injury and suspensions.
League leaders Dynamos have Partson Jaure and midfielder Devon Chafa suspended for Sunday’s Harare derby at Rufaro.
Jaure picked up three yellow cards in matches against Monomotapa, FC Platinum and Harare City while Chafa was cautioned against Monomotapa, Hwange and FC Platinum.
Highlanders defenders Bruce Kangwa and Bruce Tshuma have been ruled out due to injury while midfielder Masimba Mambare and defender Erick Mudzingwa must both pass late fitness tests before they welcome Shabanie at Barbourfields on Sunday.
Highlanders coach Kevin Kaindu, unbeaten in 21 league matches, says the missing players are no excuse to lose on Sunday.
“Those selected should be able to do the job. We still have belief and I know the players are confident they can still do it,” he said on Friday.
For Shabanie Mine, striker Pevington Zimunya – scorer of two of their last three goals in the 2-1 win over Hwange in the league and 1-0 victory in the Mbada Diamonds Cup – is serving a one match suspension after accruing three yellow cards.
But Nelson Mazivisa – the country’s leading scorer with 15 goals from 21 matches – is available for the asbestos miners who lost 2-0 in the reverse fixture at Maglas with Graham Ncube and Milton Ncube on target for Highlanders.
Dynamos lead the race with 49 points, two more than unbeaten Highlanders with nine matches to play. Shabanie are a distant third with 38 points.
The absence of Jaure and Chafa could see David Kutyauripo get his chance from the bench.
Monomotapa, fourth in the table, have a tricky tie at Rufaro against Hwange on Saturday without star player Ronald Chitiyo, who is serving a one-match suspension.
Chitiyo, nicknamed Rooney after Manchester United star Wayne, struck a hat-trick last week as they beat Hardbody 3-2 against in the Mbada Diamonds Cup first round in Beitbridge.
At Mandava, two teams undergoing revivals – FC Platinum and CAPS United – collide with contrasting ambitions.
CAPS United have toyed with relegation all season while Platinum have seen their title ambitions go up in smoke.
Platinum have dropped Tafadzwa Dube and Zephaniah Ngodzo, while the latter’s brother, Joel, starts from the bench. Thabani Kamusoko has been moved from midfield to defence to partner captain Daniel Vheremu.
Donald Ngoma and Kabby Kamhapa are suspended for the match.
For United, Shingi Kawondera is still searching for his first goal and is likely to be partnered by another new boy Nqobile Mpala upfront. Regular striker Washington Pakamisa is injured together with Evans Gwekwerere.
In other matches, basement club Quelaton are in Harare for a date against Blue Rangers; Chicken Inn face Black Mambas at Morris Depot while Buffaloes welcome Harare City to Sakubva Stadium in Mutare.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Fixtures
Black Mambas v Chicken Inn (Morris Depot), Monomotapa v Hwange (Rufaro), FC Platinum v Caps United (Mandava)
Hardbody v Gunners (Ascot), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Motor Action (Rufaro), Blue Rangers v Quelaton (Gwanzura), Buffaloes v Harare City (Sakubva)