Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu says he would rather have played log leaders FC Platinum at a later stage than on Saturday following the Bulawayo giants’ defeat to Castle Lager Premier Soccer League debutants Bulawayo Chiefs in a game that his goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda was sent off.
The Bulawayo giants lost 1-0 to Chiefs at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
It was a second red card for Highlanders in two successive matches after defender Andrew Mbeba was also sent off in the previous match, when they won 2-1 over Harare City at Rufaro.
Sibanda and Mbeba will miss the FC Platinum game that marks the end of the first half of the season and Ndlovu says he would rather have played the Zvishavane-based log leaders after the break, where he hopes injured players would have recovered.
“Playing a team like Platinum will be very difficult considering almost six regular players will not be available, but it’s a game that we have to go and play and if we take the positives from the way we finished this game (against Bulawayo Chiefs),” he said.
“We will be able to try and salvage something in Zvishavane. But it is a mammoth task for us and also having two players sitting on two yellow cards, it might get worse than what we have right now.
I would have loved that this is a game be played after the break to get the boys to recuperate.”
He did not rule out new faces featuring in the big game against FC Platinum.
FC Platinum are yet to lose at Mandava this year, while Highlanders have also posted good results on the road.
Despite losing to Bulawayo Chiefs on Sunday, Ndlovu was happy with the effort that the team put playing with a man down.
“It is a situation where you look at your team and see what sort of character you have and I think I am a happy loser in this game because a lot of positives came from my boys,” he said.
“The character that they showed with one man down is something that one would turn.
I am proud that my goalkeeper and I fully support him for the decision he took. But it’s how we played thereafter which was pleasing.”