Just like millions of Highlanders faithful dotted across the global, who have been reduced to a virtual community owing to Covid-19, Technical Manager Mandla ‘Lulu’ Mpofu and his charges would have preferred to collect maximum points against Chicken Inn in a Chibuku Super Cup Group two match played at Barbourfields stadium on Sunday.
However, the Bosso gaffer, together with a multitude of fans who watched the match online were left content with the result of the day.
The teams played to a goalless draw in a match where goal-scoring opportunities were few and far between, thanks to both coaches’ tactical approach.
Mpofu went to the match with a makeshift center-back pairing of Andrew Tandi and Mbongeni Ndlovu after a double setback for reliable center-back Andrew Mbeba who will have to deal with a knock and flue before he makes his way back to the team.
He was forced to make another makeshift paring 13 minutes into the game after Tandi got injured. Mpofu and his technical bench had to push right-back Crispen Ncube to partner Ndlovu, while Charlton Siamalonga came from from the bench to occupy the right-back position.
With the cover from Nqobizitha Masuku and Adrian Silla, and command from goalkeeper and captain Ariel Sibanda, Chicken Inn could not breach the Bosso defense.
“We came into this game when no one was giving us a chance. Playing a full strength Chicken Inn that we all know their intentions, they want to win everything, a makeshift defense again today, an injury-forced substitution in defense in the first half. But of course I am getting used to live outside the box, to work with what we have. For today I will give credit to these boys in terms of their performance. It was a better performance than last week (against Bulawayo Chiefs), today we had good ball retention and ball circulation,” said Mpofu.
“Overal I think it was two coaches who used their tactics well today, less penetration, less opportunities in terms of goal scoring opportunities. To me this is a precious point, but again, credit to the boys,” he added.
The draw means that the two teams remain tied on four points, with Chicken Inn occupying the top spot thanks to their superior goal defference.
They beat Premier Soccer League returnees Bulawayo City 2-0 in their opening match while Bosso registered a 1-0 victory over Bulawayo Chiefs.
Highlanders’ next assignment is against Bulawayo City on Sunday while Chicken Inn will lock horns with Bulawayo Chiefs on Saturday.
The two teams that will finish on top of the table will proceed to the quarter finals of this year’s edition of the Chibuku Super Cup.