1 March 2014

Zimbabwe: St Michel Pray for Third Time Luck

HOW MINE'S Confederation Cup opponents St Michel of the Seychelles will be counting on getting it right on their third visit to Zimbabwe, inside 15 years, when they clash at Barbourfields this afternoon.The Indian Ocean islanders have previously clashed with Highlanders (2000) here in Bulawayo and Shabanie Mine in 2002.

Against Highlanders here they put up an impressive show with Rainana "Small Poison" Clovis of Madagascar running rings around the Bosso midfield.

Bosso scored a solitary goal at home before two long range efforts by Alexander Phiri at Stade Linite put Highlanders through to the final round where they squandered a 3-0 home lead against Sable de Batie of Cameroon.

They were back in Zimbabwe two years later, this time in the Midlands, to face Shabanie Mine in the Caf Confederation Cup and the match ended 0-0.

However, like the game against Highlanders they were beaten at home again. This time around they face gold miners How Mine.

"We will give it our best shot," said the visitors' technical director Brian Uranie who was the head coach in 2000 and 2002.

"The guys are mentally ready despite our shoddy travel arrangements but having been here before where we lost to Highlanders 0-1 in our first match and drew 0-0 with Shabanie Mine on our second visit I think this time around we shall get it right."

He has been replaced by Ralph Jean-Louis who will be assisted by Roddy Victor, who both faced Bosso in 2000 as a striker and a midfielder respectively.

Another surviving member is their imposing goalkeeper Nelson Sopha.

"We know very little about How Mine but we came fully prepared, especially knowing that they will be playing in front of their supporters," said Uranie during their afternoon training at the match venue yesterday.

The islanders arrived in Harare at 9.30pm on Thursday before boarding a coach to Bulawayo two hours later.

Asked why they did not get a connecting flight from South Africa to Bulawayo, Uranie said all the flights were fully booked and exonerated How Mine from the travel boob.

"How Mine had nothing to do with our chaotic travel arrangements, our own travel agent is probably to blame but like I said, we have put all that behind us and are concentrating on the match," said Uranie.

During yesterday's training session the team concentrated mainly on set pieces. The Seychelles top-flight league only started on Tuesday with one match played involving St Michel and The Lions with the How Mine opponents winning 4-2.

How Mine coach Philani "Beefy" Ncube said he will go for an early goal to unsettle the visitors this afternoon while also remaining vigilant in defence.

"If we get an early goal, that will be good for us but if we fail, we just have to be patient and make steady build-ups," Ncube said.

Just like their opponents, How Mine also boast of players in the national team and Caf club competitions experience like goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura, Gilbert Banda, Hebert Dick, Menard Mupera and their leading striker with three goals from two matches Kuda Musharu.

"We are not afraid of them because we have equally good players with rich history in terms of playing in continental competitions.

"However, this is a different ball game altogether and requires us to prepare in a manner that we believe will get us through to the next round," said Ncube.

Some of the players expected to be key in How Mine's fight are Nyasha Mukumbi, Terrence Majo, George Magario, Morris Kadzola and Nelson Tachi, who are competing for the four starting places in defence with Banda and Dick.

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