Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS FC marksman Prince Dube returns to action tomorrow after serving a two-match suspension to lead his side against ZPC Kariba in a Chibuku Super Cup semi-final match at Barbourfields Stadium.
Dube missed Highlanders’ league matches against Yadah who they beat 3-1 and last weekend’s 1-1 away draw against Dynamos having been red carded during last month’s 1-1 away draw at ZPC Kariba.
The return of Dube excites coach Hendrik Pieter de Jongh who hopes that the striker will be able to “punish” the electricity generators. The Dutch expatriate has been adamant that Dube was unfairly given a red card in Kariba.
“I’m happy Prince is back, he gives me more options. He has been training okay, he is in a good mood after missing two matches. He is a good player, he is an important player and we have more good and important players.
“Because of Prince’s return, we will have to make changes to the squad that played the last two games,” said De Jongh.
When Dube was suspended, de Jongh called on winger Godfrey Makaruse and the lad took the opportunity head on, scoring a beautiful goal against Yadah. Makaruse went on to star against Dynamos.
Dube has two Chibuku Super Cup goals. He scored the solitary goal in the opening round when Bosso knocked out Dynamos at Rufaro and was on target when Highlanders eliminated FC Platinum in the quarter-finals, a match they won 3-0.
Besides Dube, Bosso’s hopes will be pinned on goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defence stalwart Peter Muduhwa, midfield maestro Nqobizitha Masuku and central midfielder Brian Banda among other players.
De Jongh is confident of progressing to the final.
“Being in the final is important for the club. We play with confidence and believe in good results. Let’s hope we go through to the final, we will go for it. It will be good for the fans, players and the sponsors to be in the final.
“Playing at Barbourfields, we will be playing on a good pitch, which allows us to play good football. I’m happy to be at home and I pray for a good and fair referee,” de Jongh said.
Highlanders should brace for a tough encounter as ZPC Kariba have vowed to electrocute Bosso.
ZPC Kariba coach Godfrey Tamirepi is positive his side will sail through to the final of the Chibuku Super Cup despite their semi-final opponents Highlanders enjoying crowd support at Barbourfields.
“We are very positive that we will sail through despite Bosso being given home advantage. World over venues are announced well in advance before the teams qualify which is very fair, while here they wait for who qualifies and then announce the venue, which is not fair. A neutral venue would have been ideal for both sides.
“But moving onto the game, we play a Highlanders side that has been doing well home and away in all competitions. We have also done well, but we have not been good when playing away from home. We will need to be at our best on Sunday if we are to progress to the final.
“We are going to be playing Highlanders at their favourite hunting ground with us being the home team. The good thing l guess is that though we will be home away from home, we will be at home and we have not lost playing at home this season. It will be an interesting game when you look at the history between the two sides,” said Tamirepi.
ZPC have some injury concerns ahead of the big battle on Sunday. Samuel Makawa, who scored when the two sides met at Nyamhunga Stadium in a league match last month, is out of contention for this encounter. He is joined by goalkeeper Tendai Hove and Ghanaian defender Sylvester Appiah.
The last time the two sides met at Barbourfields Stadium in a league match, Bosso were convincing 2-0 winners.
On their way to this year’s semi-finals, ZPC Kariba beat Hwange 2-1 and claimed the scalp of Manica Diamonds with another 2-1 victory in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, former Chibuku champions Harare City and Ngezi Platinum Stars face off at Baobab Stadium this afternoon. — @ZililoR