BOSSO KEEP TITLE HOPES ALIVE Highlanders, police commend fans
HIGHLANDERS revived their slim hopes of a shot at the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship following a dramatic and memorable 2-1 win over old enemy Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Bosso put on a brave performance to complete a rare league double, which they last achieved when winning the title in 2006.
Highlanders showed character to fight back and claim victory having trailed for 48 minutes after Dynamos shot into the lead through a 28th minute goal by ex-Bosso winger Masimba Mambare.
Bosso central defender Tendai Ndlovu cancelled that lead when he rose to head home a well delivered corner kick by Erick Mudzingwa in the 76th minute. The goal gave back Bosso fans their voices and spurred the team to the magnificent win.
Three minutes later, central defender Peter Muduhwa took matters into his own hands and rode a number of tackles before crossing for substitute Ralph Matema to head home.
Highlanders’ win all but put to an end Dynamos’ title hopes as the Harare Glamour Boys are in fifth position on the league table with 35 points from 23 games, and trail leaders FC Platinum by 12 points with just seven matches remaining before the season ends.
“The championship fate is no longer in our hands and being 12 points behind the leaders is too big a gap. We have to fight so that we end in a respectable position,” said Lloyd Mutasa, the Dynamos’ coach.
Not even refusing to use the official entry into the Barbourfields Stadium turf in a suspected case of superstition could save Dynamos.
When the Harare giants disembarked from their team bus at the stadium, they refused to go into the field via their dressing room, and instead went through the Wings’ stand close to the Mpilo End.
Highlanders’ players were not distracted by Dynamos’ superstitious beliefs as they gave their all and fought for maximum points.
The victory took Bosso’s points tally to 41, six behind FC Platinum. Sitting third and within title striking distance, Highlanders now need to maintain consistency and collect as many points as possible with the hope that FC Platinum and Caps United slip up in the remaining seven matches.
Highlanders played as a unit, with Muduhwa the most outstanding player.
The last seven weeks of the championship are likely to be pulsating, with the top three teams taking the title fight to the wire.
Highlanders coach Erol Akbay said: “The HIGHLANDERS FC and the police have praised football fans for their exemplary behaviour during Sunday’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Bosso and Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium.
The Bulawayo giants won the match 2-1.
Highlanders chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede said: “We thank the fans for exemplary behaviour which is the way it should be whenever one attends a football match. People come to the stadium for entertainment value and not to settle scores. As a club we would like to encourage b ot h championship is still open and what we have to do is continue fighting and make sure that we win our games and get as many points as possible.”
FC Platinum registered their first victory in the second half of the season at the weekend, beating How Mine 1-0 at Mandava Stadium.
Going into the How Mine game and hard-pressed for a win, FC Platinum had played three home games in the second half of the season, which all ended in identical 1-1 draws against Hwange, Mutare City Rovers and Chicken Inn.
Walter Musona scored the solitary goal against How sets of fans, Highlanders and Dynamos, to continue with their good behaviour regardless of future results.” Gumede challenged fans to effect “citizens’ arrest” on pitch invaders who he said were costing the club. The seasoned administrator said they would continue with their antih o o l i g a n i s m gospel. “We can’t deal with pitch invaders or hooligans alone, we need responsible fans to assist us so that we save the club from fines,” Gumede said. Police spokesperson for Bulawayo Province Inspector Precious Simango also commended fans. “This weekend’s match proved to be exceptional in terms of the conduct of supporters as peace prevailed. T h e Mine and the victory took the platinum miners’ points tally to 47.
Second-placed Caps United kept pressure on FC Platinum by beating champions Chicken Inn 1-0 at the National Sports Stadium courtesy of a Leonard Tsipa goal from the penalty spot.
Caps United are just a point behind FC Platinum and five ahead of Highlanders.
On the relegation side, Tsholotsho remained stuck in 15th place with 19 points despite a 1-0 win over Border Strikers, while third from the bottom Mutare City Rovers took their points tally to 20 after dismissing police would therefore want to commend soccer fans and the general public for the good behaviour exhibited during the match in the face of inflammatory messages that were circulating on social media that sought to provoke public disorder against law enforcers.
“Members of the public enjoyed a mutual relationship with the police as evidenced by some photographs which were circulating on online media which signal a good working relationship between the police and the public,” said Insp Simango.
Pictures of Highlanders fans celebrating their victory with police on guard have been circulating on social media. See Comment on Page 4 Triangle United 2-0.
Just like the title race, the fight for survival is likely to go to the wire and with Strikers certain to be relegated, either Tsholotsho or Mutare City Rovers will join the Beitbridge side in the First Division. — @ZililoR