Akbay aiming to end winless streak at ZPC
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