Bosso goalie doubtful for DeMbare blockbuster


HIGHLANDERS goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda could miss the blockbuster Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie against Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday after aggravating a groin injury.

The veteran goalkeeper missed the 1-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs at Barbourfields Stadium, with Raphael Pitisi coming on board while 19-year-old Romeo Zimba was on the bench.

Highlanders assistant coach Joel Luphahla said they learnt that the club captain would not make it 24 hours before the Bulawayo Chiefs’ game.

“It is unfortunate that he got a groin injury. The groin is a difficult injury and with the type of play that we want, which requires that the goalkeeper uses more of his feet but if he cannot kick, it would be difficult for him. It was only yesterday (Saturday) that we got to know that he could not play but we are happy for Raphael (Pitisi), the young man to have come in and play the way he played. He kept a clean sheet which we have not done in the past three or four games. It is a boost to the goalkeeping department to come in and keep a clean sheet,” Luphahla said.

Luphahla cast doubt about Sibanda’s availability for the Dynamos game.

“We don’t know if Ariel is going to be back next week but the groin injury usually takes two to three weeks to heal and it’s a confidence booster as well to Raphael when we go to Harare if our captain does not recover. It’s a chance for Raphael to make sure he goes in there and keep a clean sheet again. Ariel has been carrying this (injury) but this time I think it has got the better of him but we hope that with a little rest and treatment, he will come back soon. But we have seen the young man, if Ariel does not recover on time, we are in safe hands,” he said.

It will not be the first time that Pitisi made a start as he kept a clean sheet last month when Highlanders beat visiting Triangle 2-0 at Barbourfields Stadium when Sibanda was serving a one-match suspension.

Luphahla said he was expecting three points against Dynamos.

“National derbies are very difficult. We cannot go by form but it is a boost to the players to give self-belief that when we go to Harare we are capable of going there and getting the three points that we want. It is going to be a massive game but I expect us to go there and make sure that we collect the points,” he said.

The reverse fixture at BF was abandoned due to crowd trouble. The disciplinary committee awarded the game to Highlanders on a 3-0 scoreline.

Follow Fortune on Twitter @fmbele

Related Topics