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BULAWAYO giants Highlanders are facing a possible crisis in their strike-force following a curse of injuries that has plagued their camp early in the season.

Team coach Bongani Mafu’s worries were heightened at the weekend when Obadiah Tarumbwa, who started the opening two games, could not last the opening 45 minutes in their 1-0 win over Tsholotsho FC at Barbourfields after picking up a knock.

The Bulawayo giants, who have been struggling in front of goal, were forced to replace him with a midfielder, Welcome Ndiweni, to leave the striking responsibilities in the hands of Zimbabwe youth internationals – Thomas Chideu and Gabriel Nyoni.

Bosso got their first win courtesy of a speculative shot from enterprising defender Teenage Hadebe.

Mafu yesterday told The Herald that he was worried by the growing number of casualties in his strikeforce with Tarumbwa joining Rahman Kutsanzira, Simba Sithole, Ozias Zibande and Knox Mutizwa on the sidelines.

The coach was yesterday forced to give his players time off to allow the injuries to heal.

“I have told my players to get a rest today (yesterday) and probably that will help some of the injured players to recuperate,” said Mafu.

“We have two important away games this weekend as we travel to Hwange and to Buffaloes. So we will see when we regroup which players will be fit and which ones are not.

“It’s unfortunate we have six strikers who are down with injuries and it’s almost the whole department. Now we have a big challenge to try and convert midfielders to play as strikers,” said Mafu.

The coach said the victory on Sunday was a huge boost.

“The win always brings with it positives. We created a lot of chances which we couldn’t put to good use.

“That alone was an indication that we need to go back and work on our finishing.

“Overall, the team played well but it’s still work in progress. Otherwise, I am happy with what we have achieved so far.

“We are taking each game as it comes and our aim is to win each and every match that we play,” said Mafu.

Big spending Harare City and How Mine also registered important wins at the weekend after making false starts the previous week.

Martin Vengesai scored a brace to hand Harare City their first points in a 2-1 win over Chicken Inn.

The Sunshine Boys lost their first game at home to newboys Tsholotsho and Saturday’s win was a huge relief to coach Taurai Mangwiro.

Luke Masomere of How Mine should also have had the same feeling on Sunday when his team brushed aside a dogged challenge from Dongo Sawmill to emerge 2-1 victors at Vengere.

Veterans Wonder Sithole and Benjamin Marere scored either side of the half with Kelvin Katandika reducing the arrears for the newboys.

How Mine will open the Easter programme with a tricky tie against giants CAPS United at Luveve on Thursday and then travel to Harare on Sunday for a date against Premiership debutants Flame Lily on Sunday.

Fixtures

Thursday: How Mine v CAPS United (Luveve)

Friday: Whawha v Harare City (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Tsholotsho (Luveve), ZPC Kariba v Buffaloes (Gwanzura),

Highlanders v Hwange (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Dongo Sawmill (Rufaro), Triangle United v Chapungu (Gibbo)

Sunday: Flame Lily v How Mine (Gwanzura)

Monday: Dongo Sawmill v Triangle United (Vengere), Chicken Inn v Whawha (Luveve), CAPS United v Dynamos (NSS), Tsholotsho v Hwange (White City), Chapungu v ZPC Kariba (Ascot), Buffaloes v Highlanders (VengereSakubva)

Wednesday: FC Platinum v Flame Lily (Mandava)

Source : The Herald

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