The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Maphosa, Mushure in Danger

HIGHLANDERS' midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa and DeMbare leftback Ocean Mushure are just one yellow card away, in today's explosive penultimate round of league fixtures, from being disqualified from running for the 2012 Castle Soccer Stars of the Year calendar. The selection will be done in Harare on Saturday.

Bosso forward, Milton Ncube, is also one card away from disqualification.

Gritty midfielder, Maphosa, has been impressive in Bosso colours this season, providing the muscle in their midfield, and rewinding the hands of time to the years when he really made a huge impact in the colours of Monomotapa.

After a very difficult stay at FC Platinum, cut short by his arrest after an altercation in Bulawayo in which a man was stabbed last year, Maphosa has made the most of the second chance he has received from Bosso.

His consistency has been impressive and has played every game with passion, providing the leadership that was lacking in the Bosso midfield and giving the team its stability.

But fierce battles go on in midfield and Maphosa, a fiery character, has given as much as he has received in the contests and, for his troubles, received five yellow cards in the process.

If he can avoid another yellow, today at Barbourfields where Bosso host FC Platinum hoping to keep alive their battle for the league championship crown, Maphosa will be eligible for selection when the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year are chosen.

Last year, the 29th league matches of the season proved pivotal in the championship race and, then, just like now, a game featuring FC Platinum decided where the title went.

Dynamos arrived at Mandava to face an FC Platinum side that had their destiny in their hands, unbeaten in their new home since moving from Maglas, and bubbling with confidence as a draw would have been good enough for them to be crowned champions.

Interestingly, DeMbare were yet to win, let alone score, away from Harare all season leading to that game.

And, as fate would have it, DeMbare didn't need to score as an own goal by Daniel Veremu settled a stormy contest and sent the Glamour Boys soaring to the top of the table.

They were never going to be caught with just one game left and ended four years of waiting for the league title after beating FC Platinum by virtue of a superior goal difference.

Bosso know that a draw today, coupled with a DeMbare victory at Rufaro against Buffaloes, will end their brave campaign in which they are unbeaten at Barbourfields all season and have only lost once on the road.

Milton Ncube has proved a reliable man upfront, on his return to his hometown, after a frustrating period in the capital in which some of the coaches somehow foolishly pushed him to play as a left-back.

He has scored some crucial goals, leading the line for Bosso, and if he can avoid another yellow card today, he has a good chance of making the final XI when the selection process is conducted on Saturday.

Dynamos' leftback, Mushure, who has been outstanding for the Glamour Boys after settling into the system, is also just one yellow card away from disqualification.

Mushure, the roving wingback who struggled when he arrived at DeMbare from Motor Action at the beginning of the year before finding his feet and turning that position into his own, is also one yellow card away from disqualification. And so is Ali Sadiki, who for a long time was the best player at FC Platinum this season, Veremu, who is now the skipper at Kugona Kunenge Kudada and ageless Buffaloes skipper Dananai Chinowawa.

Chinowawa has been a rock of inspiration for Buffaloes, making a mockery of his age, and turning on performances, every week, that were so refreshing as he appeared to be a guy who had just come out of the football academy.

A deadly penalty specialist, he has been one of the standout players of this season, playing for an unfashionable team, rarely having his picture in the newspapers but making it count where it matters -- on the field.

Others sitting on five yellow cards are Passmore Benard of Motor Action; Ben Nyahunzvi (Black Mambas); Edmore Chifungamoyo, Tapiwa Khumbuyani, Tendai Samanja and Rahman Kutsanzira(CAPS United); Prosper Matizanadzo (Buffaloes); Steven Alimenda (Hardbody).

Warriors' forward, Rodwell Chinyengetere, is also sitting on five yellow cards but can't be disqualified now because he is sidelined by injury.

He was one of the best players this season. Those who already hold two red cards or six yellow cards are already out of the contest, as per the rules of the selection process.

There are five players on two red cards -- Herbert Dick of Chicken Inn, who misses out for the second straight year after being disqualified for similar reasons last season, Sam Mutenheri (Black Mambas), who also has five yellow cards to boot, Aaron Katebe of Hwange, Pardon Chinungwa of Gunners and Trymore Nyamadzawo of Harare City.

Those sitting on more than six yellow cards or more and also miss out are Buffalloes' Themba Ndlovu (8), Proud Zireni of Quelaton (7), Nyasha Chazika and Paul Marazanye of Blue Rangers (7), FC Platinum's Thabani Kamusoko and Thabani Goredema of Chicken Inn (7).

Highlanders' utility man, Eric Mudzingwa, Gilbert Zulu of Hwange, Byrone Madzokere of Gunners, the talented Morris Kadzola of Motor Action, Asani Nhongo and Washington Pakamisa of CAPS United and Godfrey Moyo of Motor Action all miss out because they sit on six yellow cards.

Those on one red card are Motor Action's Passmore Benard and Isaac Masame; Ben Nyahunzvi and Tendai Chinungo of Black Mambas; Thomas Chimenya, Tendai Ndoro and Guide Gordard of Chicken Inn; Timothy Sibanda, Evans Rusike and Eric Chipeta of Hwange; Norman Togara, Zephania Ngodzo, Raphael Muduvira and Qadr Amin of FC Platinum; Knowledge Machona of Monomotapa; Kudakwashe Mahachi and Tendai Ndoro of Chicken Inn; Fungai Chirinda of Gunners and and Chrispen Dickson, Ephraim Gwiliza and Takesure Chiragwi of Blue Rangers.

DeMbare's talisman, Denver Mukamba, favoured by many to win the Soccer Star of the Year award, is sitting on one red card and remains eligible, unless he can pick another expulsion today.

Rodreck Mutuma is also sitting on a red card. Interestingly, centreback Partson Jaure, who has also been outstanding this season and would normally be the one in foul trouble because of where he plays, has a clean bill.

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