We can do it - Akbay

HARARE - With the Castle Lager Premiership title race heading to the wire, Highlanders coach Erol Akbay is confident his side can overturn CAPS United’s lead in the remaining four matches.

In the latest twist of a fascinating championship race, FC Platinum, who were leading the title chase all along, lost to Harare City on Saturday allowing Makepekepe to take the lead.

Highlanders also made a strong case for the championship with a last-gasp 1-0 away win to Chapungu at Ascot Stadium.

CAPS are now on 53 points, two ahead of the platinum miners while Bosso are on 50 points.

For Akbay, the race is still very wide open and any of the three teams still has a chance to win the coveted price at the end.

“The confidence in our squad is very high,” Akbay told the Daily News yesterday.

“Our record in the league recently, gives us good reason for optimism as we have posted some crucial results.

“I’m not saying that Highlanders will surely succeed in finishing at the top come the end of the season but the belief is there that we can win this league.”

Bosso are now on a six-game winning streak and what should make their two rivals for the title worried is the fact the Bulawayo giants have showed a never-say-die attitude in those wins.

Highlanders have either come from behind or scored winning goals right at the death during that run which saw them defeat How Mine, Border Strikers, Dynamos, Harare City and Ngezi Platinum Stars.

“We are looking forward to the final four matches with great enthusiasm.

“Our goal is to win our remaining matches without worrying about what happens to other teams,” the Dutchman said.

“One thing I’m sure of is that there is going to be more twists and turns and we need to grab the opportunity when it arises. I think our chances are as good as those of CAPS United and FC Platinum.”

Akbay, however, concedes it will not be easy for all the three teams.

“Anyone who drops points at this stage will definitely be out of the race,” he said.

“It’s not going to be easy for the three teams. It will actually be more difficult for us.

“But, as Highlanders, we want to approach our remaining matches with the right attitude. This is the stage where we need to have that mental and physical strength.”

Bosso seem to have the easiest of fixtures in the title run. The Bulawayo giants, who are also in the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup, are still to play Bulawayo City (home), Tsholotsho (home), FC Platinum (away) and Hwange (home).

Matches against Tsholotsho, Bulawayo City and Hwange represent Highlanders with a perfect opportunity to get some points on the board while the match against FC Platinum will be a real test away from home.

CAPS United appear to have the toughest of matches among the leading pack and this weekend they will need to negotiate a difficult hurdle posed by bitter rivals Dynamos in the Harare derby.

Whilst Dynamos have been unimpressive, form is usually of little importance when they face CAPS.

The match against Dynamos could hold the key to Makepekepe’s pursuit of their first league title since 2005.

United still have to face Harare City (away), Ngezi Platinum (home) and Chapungu (away) which are all not easy fixtures.

Similarly, FC Platinum’s remaining fixtures are tough as they have to face Ngezi Platinum (home), Chapungu (away) and Tsholotsho (away).

It will be interesting to see how Norman Mapeza and his charges pick themselves up following defeat to the Sunshine Boys at the weekend.

 

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