HIGHLANDERS Football Club gunslinger Gabriel Nyoni is racing against time to overcome an ankle injury that has kept him out of action since April to help Bosso challenge for the title ahead of the departure of three key players this month.
Nyoni was stretchered off the field of play on April 13 when Highlanders played Shabanie Mine at Barbourfields.
But the National University of Science and Technology student has to overcome the injury and help Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu challenge for the title which has eluded them since 2006. The last time that Bosso won it was under the guidance of Methembe Ndlovu, who is now the brains behind Bantu Rovers Football Club.
So far, Nyoni has missed seven matches in a row. They include the away match to Chiredzi, home against Hwange, away to Chicken Inn, home to CAPS United, away to ZPC Kariba, home to Harare City, as well as the latest away match to Buffaloes in Mutare.
Bosso is set to lose three key players who are hunting for greener pastures, leaving Kaindu with a few options upfront.
Expected to leave are Chan poster boy Kudakwashe Mahachi, a Mamelodi Sundowns player who was loaned to the Bulawayo giants until this June, Warriors enterprising left-wing back, Milton Ncube whom coach Kaindu uses as an attacking midfielder and midfield maestro Peter "Rio" Moyo.
Mahachi looks set either to join his parent team or to move to France with Ncube joining Ajax Cape Town while Rio joins Mpumalanga Black Aces.
The moves will definitely cripple Kaindu's options upfront as he will be left with Charles Sibanda, Ozius Zibande and the inexperienced Cleophas "Balotelli" Dube.
Rumour has it that Sibanda might be on his way out too.
Speaking to Standardsport, Nyoni, who has started light training with the rest of the team, was optimistic Bosso will win the title despite losing a number of key players along the way.
"It shall be well. I am now fit and I have started training with the rest of the team. I also know very well the task that is awaiting me," said the 21-year-old striker from his base in Bulawayo.
Despite being presented with a chance to shine as the main man at Bosso, the youthful striker said he will miss Ncube as he had become a personal friend.
"Milton had become a brother to me. I will miss him."
Nyoni made a name for himself after helping Highlanders win the Mbada Diamonds Cup last year. The youthful striker won the fastest goal cap after scoring with a header two minutes into the match when Highlanders played Triangle FC.
Nyoni believes that there is abundant talent at Bosso and said with good discipline and hard work, the championship might be theirs.
"We have good young players here at Highlanders. What we need to do is to up our game, work a bit harder in training and results will follow us."
The young striker who is inspired by coach Kaindu, dreams of donning the gold and yellow Warriors jersey one day.
Nyoni played for the Under-20 national team once -- against Botswana in the 2011 edition of the Cosafa Cup.
A marketing student at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust), Nyoni started his football career in 2007 when he was in Form Two at Mucheke High School in Masvingo where he captained the school team.
Hard work and determination saw him being awarded a scholarship at Pamushana High School after he was identified by Pamushana coach Alphonso Jaka. It was there that he was identified by football legend, Moses "Bambo" Chunga during his days at Shooting Stars.
He finally joined Shooting Stars in 2010 while doing his Advanced Levels, where he played for two seasons. In 2012, Nyoni played for Masvingo United in the unfashionable world of Division One, awaiting the approval of his university application.
He then joined Bosso in January 2013 before he was loaned out to Bulawayo Chiefs, only to be recalled midway through the season.
Since then, he has been a revelation at Highlanders.