ZIMBABWEAN soccer giants Highlanders are set to leave for a tour of South Africa next month where they will play against Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
The international friendly has been tentatively set for July 20 with indications that the event is likely to be turned into a four-team tournament that will also feature crack sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
The Mamelodi Sundowns match has been confirmed by the newly appointed Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede who however said no word has so far come from Amakhosi and Amabhakhaniya.
“Our trip has not been cleared as yet but everything is at an advanced stage, we should be playing Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa and there has also been talk of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates but it now looks like those two teams might not take part,” said the veteran administrator during an interview at the Highlanders boardroom offices yesterday.
This will be the second time that the two teams will be clashing in as many years after the Brazilians, coached by Pitso Mosimane, undertook a tour of Zimbabwe last year during which they played three international friendly matches against Highlanders, Caps United and Dynamos.
Gumede said they believe the trip across the Limpopo River will immensely benefit Highlanders as an institution as the South African outfit was a fully fledged professional outfit.
Hopes are high that the South African giants might loan out another player to Highlanders, possibly right back Emmanuel Mathias of Togo who plays for Zesco of Zambia or Hichani Himonde also a defender.
Meanwhile, Mamelodi Sundowns have offered to provide medical expertise to injured Highlanders players as the relationship between the two clubs continues to grow.
The offer was revealed by legendary former Highlanders player and Mamelodi Sundowns manager Peter Ndlovu who flew into the country last Thursday following reports that Kudakwashe Mahachi had a knee operation.
“Peter was here last Thursday to assess how badly injured Mahachi was, remember he is their player. He wanted to find out if our own medical personnel can handle the injury otherwise they wanted to take him to South Africa for expert treatment,” said Gumede.
The Highlanders head of secretariat said Ndlovu was told that the ginger-haired dribbling menace was responding well to treatment and was in fact not operated on.
“We even told him that we expected the player to feature for our weekend match against FC Platinum which he went on to do. Peter said Sundowns were ready to fly the boy to South Africa for treatment. Then without us asking, Peter told us of Mamelodi Sundowns’ offer to help our injured boys get expert help and we gladly accepted the offer,” he said.
Said Gumede: “Peter was frank with us, telling us that while Mamelodi Sundowns played against three local clubs during their Zimbabwe tour last year, they were very happy and impressed with the hospitality they received from Highlanders,” Gumede said. Chronicle.