Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
HIGHLANDERS FC strikers have been going through special training over the past two weeks and coach, Erol Akbay hopes the results will show when they take on Harare City in a Chibuku Super Cup first round tie at Mandava Stadium this afternoon.
Bosso forwards have struggled to find the back of the net and despite playing well in their two past league games against Chapungu and Dynamos they could not convert the chances they created. Akbay said playing good football was not enough if they are not going to score to win matches.
“You don’t win matches by only playing good football, you also have to score which we have been struggling to do hence we decided to work specifically on strikers and we are going to see on Sunday if the special training is working on not. We need to be more accurate up front otherwise all the chances we create won’t count for anything if we do not convert them,” he said.
Akbay said the previous games they have lost have been more of their own mistakes rather than the efforts of their opponents, adding they will have to up their game. He said the tournament is important to his side as it presents the opportunity to walk away with some silverware in only four matches, adding his players however, need to focus and ensure they take their chances.
Akbay said he has a full complement of the squad to choose from as no player is injured. With the match being played at a neutral venue it is expected to be a blockbuster with both teams hoping to improve on their last year’s performances after exiting the tourney in the semifinal stage. Bosso fell to eventual winners Ngezi Platinum while Harare City booted out by FC Platinum.
City coach, Philani “Beefy” Ncube said winning today’s game will lift the mood of his club which has been affected by poor results.
“A win tomorrow would be big a confidence booster for everyone right from the players, supporters, directors and administrators of the club. We will however, not underrate Highlanders but we are ready to take them head on as I have a full strength squad with the exception of Jerry Chipangura,” he said, adding however, the most important thing on his mind is surviving relegation.
Harare City won the Cup in 2015 and Ncube said the pressure is on him as a coach to bring it back to town house.
Chibuku Cup holders, Ngezi face league champions Caps United at Baobab Stadium in what is expected to be a humdinger if the two sides manage export their league form. Both teams have been notching up the results and a first round exit would be a blow for either side.
After making a second round exit in the Caf Confederations Cup, Ngezi would be eager to have another dance on the continent next year and progress further, Caps on the other hand are aware it could be their only chance of silverware this year as their league campaign has not been consistent. In Harare, Bulawayo City take on Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium and with the two sides having made first round exits last year one is assured of progression to the quarter-finals.
Last year Bulawayo City were knocked out by ZPC Kariba 0-1 while Dynamos lost to How Mine 4-5 on penalties.
Today: Highlanders v Harare City (Mandava), Dynamos v Bulawayo City (Rufaro), Ngezi Platinum v Caps United (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Shabanie Mine (Nyamhunga), How Mine v Bantu Rovers (Ascot) -@rasmthembo