Akbay warns log leaders CAPS

HARARE - Highlanders coach Erol Akbay has warned log leaders CAPS United that his charges are now fully-focussed on the Castle Lager Premiership championship race following Sunday’s disappointment.

The Bulawayo giants’ dream of a league and cup double went up in smoke when they lost 1-0 to Ngezi Platinum Stars in the semi-final of the Chibuku Super Cup at Barbourfields Stadium.

Bosso, though, do not have to wait long for a chance to redeem themselves on the pitch as they host struggling Tsholotsho on Saturday in a crucial league match.

Highlanders are desperate to land the championship they last won in 2006 and Akbay feels their exit from the knockout competition simplifies their hunt for silverware.

His side is in second place on the log just a single point behind leaders CAPS United, who have a tricky fixture this weekend against Harare City.

“Maybe now that we are out of the Chibuku Super Cup, we can be stronger in the league; concentrate on that more, really push on to try to win the title,” Akbay told the Daily News.

“We are one point behind log leaders with three matches to go and I think we have our chances to win the title.

“We have got great mental strength, there is disappointment in the dressing room, yes, but we have got to pick ourselves up and win our next game against Tsholotsho.

“Then we need to be strong now in the league, to push on and make sure we get a trophy at the end of the year. We want to win every game. We want to win our remaining matches and hopefully CAPS drop some points.

“We quickly need to forget about that defeat against Ngezi and focus on our next matches.”

On their match against Tsholotsho on Saturday, Akbay is expecting a difficult match.

“Tsholotsho are fighting relegation and they will not make it easy for us,” he said. “It’s not going to be an easy match they will definitely make it difficult for us. But there is no room for error in these remaining matches. Our focus is to win the remaining three matches but we have to understand that it will not be an easy feat.”

The Premier Soccer League have this week directed that the three title-chasing teams — CAPS United, Highlanders and FC Platinum — play their remaining matches at the same time starting this weekend.

Makepekepe, who are seeking to end over a decade without the championship, face tricky Harare City at Rufaro Stadium hoping to consolidate their lead at the top of the table.

It is a fall from grace for an FC Platinum side, who were top of the table for the better part of the season, and now find themselves third on the log table.

The Zvishavane-based side travel to Ascot for a date against Chapungu in a potentially explosive Midlands derby.

Norman Mapeza’s side will be hoping to carry on from where they left off when they dispatched Harare City 3-0 in the Chibuku Super Cup last weekend. The platinum miners are fancying their chances of a rare league and cup double.

Fixtures:

Saturday: Harare City v CAPS United (Rufaro Stadium), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Hwange (Baobab Stadium), Chapungu v FC Platinum (Ascot Stadium), Highlanders v Tsholotsho (Barbourfields Stadium)

Sunday: Border Strikers v Triangle United (Dulivhadzimo Stadium), Dynamos v Mutare City Rovers (Rufaro Stadium), How Mine v Chicken Inn (Luveve Stadium), Bulawayo City v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields Stadium)

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