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PREMIERSHIP returnees, Chapungu are upbeat about their chances of collecting maximum points when they take on Bulawayo giants Highlanders at Ascot Stadium in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League encounter on Saturday. Chapungu are making a return to the big league after a six-year sabbatical in which they were hibernating in the less glamorous world of Division One before winning the sole promotional ticket from the Zifa Central Region last season.

The Air Force of Zimbabwe side topped the Zifa Central Region Division one standings last season with a record 77 points in which they lost once and were confirmed champions with four games to go.

“Waru Waru” as Chapungu are affectionately known will carry their fine form into the Premiership and head coach,John Nyikadzino is confident that Highlanders will be their first victims.

Chapungu has already claimed the scalps of Highlanders in the CG Msipa Invitational Tournament when they beat Bosso 4-2 on penalties in the semi-finals after the match had ended goalless.

Nyikadzino said the victory was their first win in 12 years against the Bulawayo giants had given them a psychological aantage ahead of Saturday”s match.

“We are still basking in glory of having broken the Highlanders jinx. We believe we have a psychological aantage over Highlanders considering that they have lost most of their preseason matches.

“However, we respect Highlanders because they are a big team that no one should underestimate. We are well prepared for the match and we hope to collect maximum points,” he said.

Chapungu are buoyed by the fact that they have won three of their five pre-season matches against Premiership teams.

They drew 1-1 with Dynamos, beat Highlanders 4-2, won 5-1 against How Mine and won 1-0 against Harare City before losing 0-2 to FC Platinum.

Nyikadzino hopes his troops will be in top form and would put up a polished act when they meet Highlanders.

“Our main objective is to consolidate our position in the top flight. We also do not want to disappoint our fans who have been longing for our return,” he said. Chapungu would be banking on their striker Calisto Maheya who was the Zifa Central Region’s Top Goal Scorer after bagging 14 goals.

The Gweru based team bolstered its squad after adding seven players in Brighton Mugoni who was on loan to Black Rhinos, former Shabanie Mine goalkeeper, Roy Mazingi and defender Blessed Mbavarira, Tripple B”s Maxwell Mavhuto, Tongai Mamina and Liberty Kim.

Source : The Herald