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VETERAN Black Rhinos striker Phillip Marufu might have had his season blighted by injuries, but the soldiers are banking on the speedy forward to break his Premiership goal duck and inspire them to victory over former paymasters Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Marufu endeared himself with the Dynamos faithful in a memorable 2008 season when the Harare giants reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and they nicknamed him Baccossi after a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe programme designed to assist people with access to basic commodities that were scarce during the economic meltdown.

His most important goal in that year when David Mandigora’s men defied all odds to reach the last four of the Champions League was the winner in DeMbare’s 2-1 victory over Cote d’Ivoire giants ASEC Mimosa in Abidjan.

Marufu had also been a hit for Gweru airmen Chapungu before packing his bags to relocate to the capital.

The 30-year-old striker yesterday revealed that he was fit again and was itching to announce his “delayed arrival” on the 2014 scene by scoring against his former team.

Coincidentally, Rhinos are the team with the least number of goals — seven — from 13 games and the soldiers could probably point to Marufu’s absence for their lack of firepower as his striking partners, Lot Chiwunga, Brian Muzondiwa and Lincoln Saramanya have also been struggling.

Rhinos assistant coach Ndega Matsika said yesterday their team had been boosted by Marufu’s return and they were looking forward to the seasoned striker to use his experience against a Dynamos side that has over the last three seasons built their campaigns on solid defences.

Matsika said their lack of firepower had remained a major cause for concern at Rhinos whose coach Arthur Tutani once threw in the towel before he had his resignation rejected by the Rhinos authorities.

“We haven’t been getting goals this season and that has been one of our major let downs. But this weekend we welcome back Phillip who started training last week and has been struggling with an ankle injury.

“He has missed about five games and is yet to score a goal this season but he should add fire punch to the attack especially playing against his former team and would want to prove that he is still the same Phillip,” Matsika said.

The Rhinos defence has, however, played with some solidity and with Dynamos’ Achilles Heel being their attack too, it points to a close battle between two teams that don’t give away much at the back.

Although Rhinos could only manage a point from their two league meetings against Dynamos last year, Matsika said they were hoping to capitalise on the fact that Dynamos are not in the best of forms at the moment.

“We are coming from a defeat against Highlanders so we don’t want to lose again to another big team. In Bulawayo, we didn’t do well in our defence and threw away the early lead.

“It is difficult travelling to meet another big team after losing in Bulawayo, but this game is self-motivating. Every player is always motivated to play against Dynamos and always give their best.

“We have everything to play for and we want to turn the tables from last year’s performance where we lost 0-2 at Rufaro. We know they are not really playing very well at the moment and we might use that to our aantage.

“We don’t have injuries and we are ready as a team. We also welcome Wonder Kapinda who was suspended in the last match”.

Matsika said Rhinos had been trying to introduce a number of young players into their team noted that a lot of improvement still needed to be done.

“We need to improve in the second half especially in the strike force, but if you look, our defence hasn’t really been letting in too many goals. We also need to beef up the team during the transfer window. We will see how it goes but we should get new players,” said Matsika.

Resurgent CAPS United will have their character to grind results on the road put to test again when they visit Chicken Inn for a cagey affair at Luveve on Saturday.

CAPS United are unbeaten at home this season but they have managed one win away in which they beat troubled Chiredzi 2-0 at Chishamiso.

Elsewhere, it will be derby time in Bulawayo when leaders Highlanders face a How Mine side that has a number of former Bosso players in their ensemble.

Fixtures

Today: Hwange v ZPC Kariba (Colliery, SS).

Saturday: Chicken Inn v CAPS United (Luveve, SS), Chiredzi v Harare City (Chishamiso), Chapungu v FC Platinum (Ascot).

Sunday: How Mine v Highlanders (Barbourfields, SS), Shabanie Mine v Buffaloes (Maglas), Dynamos v Black Rhinos (NSS).

Monday: Bantu Rovers v Triangle United (Luveve).

Source : The Herald

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