Injury-hit City up for Highlanders battle

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HIGHLANDERS, still pondering the consequences of failure to collect maximum points against relegation threatened Motor Action, are bracing for a showdown against Harare City in one of the semi-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup at Mandava Stadium on Saturday.
In the other semi-final, Caps United will host How Mine at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Highlanders dropped crucial points at the weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Mighty Bulls but will take comfort from the fact that their opponents also dropped points as they were held to a 0-0 draw by army side Black Rhinos.
The two teams will face off again in a league clash in Harare in week 29 of the championship race.
Harare City are tied with Dynamos at the top of the table with 49 points with Highlanders a point behind on 48 points.
But City coach Bigboy Mawiwi said they are going step by step and their focus at the moment was the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
The two teams will be hoping to keep alive their dreams of a league and cup double.
Harare City however, go into the match on Saturday without several key players due to injuries among them defenders Dickson Chrispen, Witness Nyamutsaka, midfielders James Jam and Crybert Muvuti.
Nyamutsaka was taken out three times during the Castle Lager Premiership tie against army side Black Rhinos.
And Mawiwi revealed he was doubtful to make it against Highlanders.  The coach also said midfielder James Jam was equally nursing an injury and might not take any part in the match against Highlanders.
“We have a challenge,” Mawiwi said.
 “We have got key players who are injured.  Chrispen Dickson is completely out of this match.  We also have Witness Nyamutsaka who is injured.  He was injured during the match against Black Rhinos.
“It was a robust and highly physical game. He had to be taken out three times.  We are not sure whether he will play on Saturday. James Jam and Crybert Muvuti are also injured.”
The unassuming coach however, said the injuries have actually given them the resolve to fight harder. He said they had depth in their squad to cope with the absences which have created competition for places especially in defence.
“It will be tough but we have to play them (Highlanders). We have got depth and whoever is going to be selected will do a good job,” he said.Advertisement

“It’s also an opportunity for those that are going to be selected to prove themselves. We have Sibusiso Sibanda who will come in as a replacement for Nyamutsaka. He is a very good player and we are confident of posting a good result.”
To reach the semi-finals Harare City beat Monomotapa 1-0 in the first round before sailing 2-0 past Hwange in the quarter-finals while Highlanders edged Buffaloes 3-2 in the opening round and then thrashed Buffaloes 3-0.
And the winner on Saturday will have a psychological boost as the championship race reaches its climax.
Defending champions Dynamos no longer have interests in this tournament after they were kicked out by How Mine who face Caps United in the other semi-final at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.