Akbay ready for 2nd half
HIGHLANDERS coach Erol Akbay is under no illusion that tactics he employed in the first half of the season will take Bosso to the title, but has a plan to outsmart his opponents in the second half of the 2016 season.
Bosso travel to Harare for a tricky date with title contenders Caps United at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday and Akbay has boldly declared that his charges are ready for the encounter.
The Dutchman said he would change his tactical approach, as he was aware that his opponents had now grasped his game plan.
“Our opponents now have an idea of how we play; they have been studying our tactics so obviously I’m also going to change our technical approach going into the second half of the season,” said Akbay.
“The problem with a team like ours with a lot of young players is that they sometimes tend to play very well in the first hour and then somehow lose concentration in the last 30 minutes, but we will work on that,” he said.
Asked if fatigue was creeping into his side considering that Bosso have not rested during the midseason break as they played in the ZNA Charities Cup and a catch-up Castle Lager Premiership game while other teams were on recess, Akbay said he was instead worried about how the players would handle pressure in the closing stages of the season. Highlanders beat Harare City FC 4-2 on penalties in the ZNA Charities Cup final last Sunday and then drew 0-0 with Triangle United in a league match three days later. Both matches were played at Barbourfields Stadium. “I’m more worried about fatigue around October and November when we approach the last stages of the season, so we’ll have to change our training programme and introduce light training sessions coupled with high tempo sessions. The advantage we have is that our young players are eager to impress and play in every match,” Akbay said. Third choice goalkeeper Prosper Matutu left a lasting impression in the cup final with a fine performance in which he saved two spot kicks in the shootout, but Bosso’s goal keepers’ coach Cosmas Zulu said the youngster was only handed his debut as part of preparations for life after veteran goalie Njabulo Nyoni, who is second choice to Arial Sibanda. Zulu said Matutu needs another two years to command a regular jersey. “We can’t say Prosper is ready to take over from Popo (Nyoni). We introduced the boy in the ZNA final to test how he responds to big matches, but he still has a lot to learn. He needs about two to three years before he can command a regular place in the first 11,” Zulu said.