Ak­bay aim­ing to end win­less streak at ZPC

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

HIGH­LANDERS’ five-match win­less streak is hurt­ing Dutch coach Erol Ak­bay and the gaffer will be hop­ing for change of for­tunes when his side takes on ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga Sta­dium this af­ter­noon.

The Bu­l­awayo gi­ants’ last vic­tory was on July 17 when they beat Caps United 1-0 at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium cour­tesy of a Bruce Kangwa goal.

That vic­tory was fol­lowed by a 0-0 draw against Tri­an­gle United at Bar­bour­fields, then three con­sec­u­tive de­feats to Caps United, Mutare City and Tri­an­gle United at Gibbo. Last week High­landers drew 1-1 against Chicken Inn.

Bosso who have had a ter­ri­ble start of the sec­ond half of the sea­son where they’ve man­aged to amass just a point in the four matches that they’ve played should ex­pect a tough en­counter against ZPC Kariba. The Bu­l­awayo gi­ants nar­rowly beat the elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors 1-0 in the first leg which they played sec­ond fid­dle to ZPC Kariba and if they em­ploy the tac­tics they used at Bar­bour­fields, they are likely to re­turn empty handed. Ak­bay who trav­elled to Kariba with­out six reg­u­lar play­ers due to sus­pen­sion, in­jury and work-re­lated com­mit­ments is hope­ful that his sys­tem works in their favour at Nyamhunga. “We’ve to win this game. As a coach I’m not happy go­ing for five weeks with­out a win. We’re try­ing to work on a sys­tem to bal­ance the team. How­ever, the chal­lenge is that ev­ery week we miss a num­ber of play­ers due to in­juries or sus­pen­sions,” said Ak­bay. High­landers left for Kariba with­out goal­keeper Ariel Sibanda, right­back Ben­son Phiri and striker Nh­lanhla Ndlovu who are all in­jured, while the duo of left­back Hon­est Moyo and mid­fielder Si­mon Mu­nawa are sus­pended. Striker Kasimero Chim­badzwa is in Harare for the ZRP Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral’s Gala rep­re­sent­ing Bu­l­awayo. De­spite miss­ing the six play­ers, Ak­bay said his play­ers showed pos­i­tive at­ti­tude dur­ing their train­ing ses­sions which made him be­lieve that they will emerge vic­to­ri­ous to­day. “There were a lot of pos­i­tives that the boys showed. In the past we missed for­ward play which is what we worked on dur­ing the week and if we cre­ate chances we will def­i­nitely score,” said Ak­bay.

Nine­teen-year-old Prince Dube who re­turns from in­jury will lead High­landers’ strike force along­side Gabriel Ny­oni.

De­scribed as “an ag­gres­sive” player by Ak­bay, util­ity player Peter Muduhwa will part­ner ei­ther cap­tain Felix Chin­dungwe or Tendai Ndlovu at cen­tral de­fence, with Tendai Ngu­lube and young Bukhosi Ncube de­ployed at wing­backs.

Erick Mudz­ingwa, Rah­man Kut­sanzira, Dou­glas Sibanda, Adrian Silla, King Nadolo and God­frey Makaruse are all vy­ing for places in the mid­field.

With Sibanda out, Pros­per Matutu and Njab­ulo Ny­oni are com­pet­ing for the start­ing place.

On pa­per, ZPC Kariba have a stronger side than High­landers.

Some of the play­ers that the elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors will bank on in­clude goal­keeper Tak­abva Mawaya, ex-Kaizer Chiefs de­fend­ers Lin­coln Zvasiya and Thomas Sweswe, strik­ers Lim­ited Chikafa and Tineyi Chi­tora as well as mid­field­ers Tawanda Mun­yan­duri, Timire Mamvura, Daniel Chakupe, God­knows Man­gani and Pro­tasho Kabwe.

Mean­while, Bu­l­awayo City will be with­out in­jured sea­soned for­ward Mkhokheli Dube and sus­pended mid­field duo of Manuel Mandi­ranga and Sipho Dube when they take on Caps United at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium to­mor­row.

City skip­per Xolisani Moyo re­turns from sus­pen­sion af­ter miss­ing last week­end’s 1-1 draw against Dy­namos.

City’s care­taker coach Try Ncube said: “Every­one is fo­cused and rar­ing to go. Caps United are a good side which is in the cham­pi­onship race but our fo­cus is on get­ting three points. As for those play­ers that are ruled out of the game, I be­lieve that who­ever comes in will grab the op­por­tu­nity and do the job.”

With Dube out, Thomas Chi­menya, Felix Kutswatuka and Mkhu­l­uli Moyo will all be vy­ing for start­ing places up­front.

Wel­come Ndi­weni, In­no­cent Kut­sanzira, Humphrey Ncube and Trevor Ndlovu will com­ple­ment skip­per Moyo in the mid­field and try to cre­ate scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for their for­wards.

Brighton Dube, Nyasha Mukumbi, Brian Chik­wenya and Lewis Ncube are likely to form City’s back­line with Ndo­dana Sibanda and Lib­erty Chi­rava fight­ing for the goal­keeper’s place.

This af­ter­noon at Lu­veve How Mine takes on Cha­pungu while the Chicken In­nTsholot­sho FC derby has been moved to to­mor­row at the same venue. – @ZililoR

Alois Bun­jira

Erol Ak­bay

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