Akbay still believes

HARARE - Highlanders coach Erol Akbay still believes the Bulawayo giants have a chance to win the Castle Lager Premiership title despite a recent dip in form.

Following a bright start to the season in which they showed a lot of promise to end a decade of title drought, Bosso’s progress has suddenly come to a screeching halt.

The Bulawayo giants have only one win in their last eight matches which has seen them drop to third place, some seven points behind log leaders FC Platinum.

“You don’t see any team that goes through a season without bad performances. It is the case with us at the moment but what I am certain of is that we will return to our best soon,” Akbay told the Daily News yesterday.

“People should not rule us out of the championship because of the last five matches. We are third on the table and we worked to be there.

“I believe our title chances are still very bright just like anyone in the top six. Nothing has been decided yet.”

Bosso were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw against defending champions Chicken Inn during an incident-filled match at Barbourfields Stadium at the weekend.

The Gamecocks felt hard done when midfielder Tafadzwa Kutinyu scored right at the stroke of fulltime and referee Nkosikhona Moyo blew to end the match with the ball in the back of the net.

Violence soon followed as Highlanders fans invaded the pitch leaving one police officer seriously injured.

Another defeat on Sunday would have been Highlanders’ fourth loss on the trot as they went into the encounter hard on the heels of defeats to Triangle, Mutare City and CAPS United.

Akbay said his team has got only themselves to blame for the recent slump in form. The Dutchman said his charges are doing everything but only failing to get it right in the final third.

“I was going to be worried if we had been playing badly in all these games. In fact we have been playing some good football but our biggest letdown is our finishing,” Akbay said.

“We have not been scoring as much as we should. And in football if you don’t score you lose matches.

“It’s something that we are working on and we hope to get it right in our next matches.

“Every game for us from now is important and we need to ensure we pick up as much points as possible.

“This is an important phase for us.”

Bosso suffered a major blow when two of their star players Bruce Kangwa and Knox Mutizwa left the club last month.

Kangwa, who is currently the league’s top goal scorer with seven strikes, joined the great trek to East Africa when he signed for Tanzanian side Azam FC.

Mutizwa, who had scored four goals, finally completed his switch to South African Premiership side Bidvest Wits.

Last week, Bosso chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede admitted the loss of the two stars had affected their season.

“Our supporters are up in arms with us as usual and as administration we understand that,” Gumede said.

“Having lost Knox to Bidvest and lately Bruce to Azam, players who had 11 goals between them and when you lose prominent goal scorers it’s difficult to settle,” he said.

This weekend, Highlanders travel to Nyamhunga Stadium for a date against ZPC Kariba.

Bosso won 1-0 in the reverse fixture at Barbourfields.

Akbay’s side must be at their best as they will take on a ZPC side which is high on confidence after ending their eight-match winless run with a 1-0 away win over Chapungu last weekend.

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