Bosso miss Mu­tizwa, Kangwa

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

ARE High­landers’ wheels com­ing off ?

That is the ques­tion peo­ple are ask­ing after see­ing the Bu­l­awayo giants scor­ing only a sin­gle goal in their last five Cas­tle Lager Pre­mier Soc­cer League games.

High­landers, who had pre­vi­ously scored in all their en­coun­ters, lost 0-2 to Chicken Inn, drew 0-0 with Mutare City, beat Caps United 1-0, played to a goal­less draw with Triangle United and lost 0-1 to Caps United on Sun­day.

Dominic Chungwa scored Sun­day’s soli­tary goal that en­abled the Green Ma­chine to dis­lodge Bosso from sec­ond place.

High­landers seem to be suf­fer­ing from a post-Knox Mu­tizwa era, and have strug­gled for goals with­out their lead­ing goal scorer Bruce Kangwa, who is on tri­als with Azam in Tan­za­nia.

Mu­tizwa played his last game for High­landers on June 26 when they beat ZPC Kariba 1-0 at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium be­fore join­ing his new club Bid­vest Wits in the South African Pre­mier­ship.

By the time he left, Mu­tizwa had scored four goals and his pres­ence and abil­ity forced op­po­si­tion de­fend­ers to give him close at­ten­tion, leav­ing the likes of Kangwa and young striker Prince Dube with acres of space to score.

High­landers’ coach Erol Ak­bay’s style of play of soaking pres­sure and catch­ing op­po­nents on quick coun­ters worked pretty well be­cause of the pace and skill of Dube, Kangwa and Mu­tizwa.

Maybe it’s time Ak­bay de­vises dif­fer­ent tac­tics to un­lock the op­po­si­tion.

High­landers can’t solely rely on get­ting their goals from coun­ter­at­tacks. They can’t just sit back with­out at­tack­ing and hope to win.

Against Caps United on Sun­day, Bosso’s lack of depth was also ex­posed as they failed to cope with­out a few reg­u­lar starters. Right-back Ben­son Phiri, left­back Hon­est Moyo, Dube and Adrian Silla all missed the match through in­jury and their ab­sence left Bosso ter­ri­bly ex­posed.

Ak­bay tin­kered with the team a lot and opted to have de­fen­sive mid­fielder Tendai Ngu­lube on the right side of de­fence, re­as­signed Erick Mudz­ingwa from the an­chor­man role he had be­come ac­cus­tomed to and de­ployed him at left-back in a sur­prise move.

Bosso had two re­serve left-backs Bukhosi Ncube, who played in the first leg against Caps United, and Julius Daudi, and play­ing a nat­u­ral player in that po­si­tion could have been a bet­ter op­tion for Ak­bay.

Cap­tain Felix Chin­dungwe was pushed to de­fen­sive link role and later on sub­sti­tuted for Dou­glas Sibanda.

The in­tro­duc­tion of Sibanda and Kasimero Chim­badzwa didn’t in­spire Bosso. That vet­eran Ralph Matema played the en­tire 90 min­utes was tes­ta­ment to the lev­els of des­per­a­tion the Bosso tech­ni­cal team faced.

High­landers are now third with 31 points, five be­hind lead­ers FC Plat­inum who beat Bu­l­awayo City 1-0 on Satur­day. Ak­bay needs to breathe new life into the team to re­dis­cover the form that earned Bosso the ti­tle favourites tag lead­ing to the sea­son’s half­way mark.

High­landers take on Mutare City at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium on Thurs­day and must win to save their cam­paign that seems to be un­rav­el­ling.

While Bosso could be ru­ing the sud­den turn of form, FC Plat­inum marched on, pun­ish­ing City who failed to trans­late their dom­i­nance into goals.

The abil­ity to grind re­sults in a match that they were sec­ond best speaks vol­umes of FC Plat­inum’s at­ti­tude and that never-say-die spirit will come in handy in their cham­pi­onship quest.

Un­like Bosso, whose only ad­di­tions dur­ing the break were striker Nh­lanhla Ndlovu and mid­fielder Allen Ga­hadzikwa, FC Plat­inum beefed up their squad, bring­ing in top play­ers in the form of striker Charles Sibanda from How Mine and Tsholot­sho FC’s util­ity player Wil­liam Stima.

Fourth-placed Dy­namos played to their third con­sec­u­tive 0-0 draw against ZPC Kariba, while Triangle United were held to a sim­i­lar score line by Ngezi Plat­inum, who took their un­beaten run to six matches. Cham­pi­ons Chicken Inn ended their four­match win­less streak with a 2-0 win over Harare City.

At the tail end of the ta­ble, an­chors Border Strik­ers reg­is­tered their first draw of the sea­son, hold­ing How Mine 1-1, while Mutare City Rovers drew 0-0 with Cha­pungu. — @ZililoR

Bruce Kangwa Knox Mu­tizwa

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