Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya says their players are told, at any early stage, to respect Highlanders and history will have no role to play when the two giants clash in the Battle of Zimbabwe at Rufaro tomorrow.
The Harare giants hold the bragging rights and will carry a psychological edge into the match.
DeMbare have been the dominant of the two teams in the recent meetings but some people feel Bosso could strike this time around.
The two giants were struggling to make a big impression before the three-week league break, which should have come as a big relief for both coaches.
Pressure was beginning to mount from the supporters for the giants to deliver and tomorrow’s clash could have adverse effects on the losers.
Ndiraya yesterday told The Saturday Herald that they were not losing sight of what is at stake in this match.
He said DeMbare were hoping to find their rhythm to maintain their supremacy.
However, Ndiraya said they have not lost respect for Highlanders.
“All our players who come into our system are inducted to respect the fixture. Yes, it has been eight years but every game is a new game,” said Ndiraya.
“Of course, we have a psychological advantage but if you noticed some of the contests before were very close.
“In some of them, Highlanders would have played better football but in the end they would lose.
“We will always give Highlanders the respect they deserve. They have always fought for the championship.
“This is a high-profile match which we expect our boys to take seriously and try to maintain that record of eight years. I hope on Sunday they will be able to do that.
“We were reminding them of the importance of the fixture. We don’t want to put the players under so much pressure. We want them to get into the game relaxed so that we get the best out of them.
“The enthusiasm in the camp is very interesting. Most of the guys we have are new guys, some of them have not played a big match like this for Dynamos, so they are going to be having a taste of it on Sunday. So, judging by what we have seen here at training, I think if they carry that into Sunday, it should be an interesting match and we should expect a very positive result.”
Dynamos are keen to shore up their campaign as they are currently third on the log standings with 23 points, six behind log leaders Chicken Inn.
Highlanders, now under Bongani Mafu, are eighth with 19 points.
Ndiraya and his boss David Mandigora are aware of the pressure that will come with failing to get a positive result tomorrow, especially after dropping points in their last three games, which ended in draws against ZPC Kariba, Triangle and Tsholotsho.
The stalemates meant that the technical team missed the 30-point target that was set for them by the executive at the beginning of the year. Dynamos will be without striker Simba Nhivi and Cliff Sekete through injuries while Bosso are missing Thomas Chideu, who is suspended for the red card he picked in the last match against How Mine.
“We still have some players who will miss the tie through injuries. We have Simba Nhivi who could miss the tie because he has not fully recovered. There is also Cliff Sekete, who is still nursing an injury and I think those two could be big casualties,” said Ndiraya.
But there was good news in Dynamos camp with news that Obey Mwerahari has recovered.
“Obey is now back and Qadr Amin also is also fully fit now. He has been training all along. So we expect those guys to make the grade and do duty on Sunday.”
Bosso will also miss striker Gabriel Nyoni who is also out.
Highlanders have not won against their opponents in a league match since 2006 when Ralph Matema scored in the 1-0 victory at the National Sports Stadium.
Bosso have made it clear that they are coming on a mission to break the jinx and tomorrow supporters should expect fireworks.
This week, Bosso chief executive Ndumiso Gumede, a veteran who has seen it all in the game, said there was always a first time and there was no way that his team could keep losing at the hands of their biggest rivals.
Coach Mafu said although winning breeds confidence, which has given Dynamos the edge over the years, he did not want to burden his players with that load.
“We want to win against the reigning champions as that is something that will make us proud,” Mafu said.
“We (the coach and players) are not carrying a burden of 10 years, the club could be but I want my players to carry a burden of playing football in a very free spirit where they can express their capabilities.
“I cannot allow the boys to carry a burden of 10 years when they play. They must carry the baton of being a Highlanders player and what I demand from every boy is to show that they are willing to break a leg for Highlanders.
“Winning over time breeds confidence so we should not at any time under-estimate their desire to maintain their victory over us.”
Gate charges have been maintained at $3 for the cheapest ticket.
FC Platinum v Buffaloes (Mandava), Chicken Inn v Dongo Sawmill (Luveve), Harare City v CAPS United (Rufaro)
Dynamos v Highlanders (Rufaro), Whawha v Chapungu (Ascot), How Mine v Hwange (Luveve), Triangle v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo), Tsholotsho v Flame Lily (White City)