Plat­inum match po­ten­tial ti­tle de­cider: Ak­bay

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Eddie Chikamhi

HIGH­LANDERS coach Erol Ak­bay be­lieves their game against FC Plat­inum in the penul­ti­mate round of this year’s Cas­tle Lager Cham­pi­onship race could play a big part in de­cid­ing the des­tiny of the ti­tle.

The Dutch coach ex­pects a ti­tanic con­test fol­low­ing a week­end of suc­cesses for the top three teams.

High­landers, in third place, main­tained pres­sure on log lead­ers FC Plat­inum and Caps United as they needed a last-gasp penalty to se­cure max­i­mum points in a 2-1 win over Ngezi Plat­inum at Bar­bour­fields on Sun­day.

FC Plat­inum com­fort­ably de­feated ail­ing gi­ants Dy­namos 2-0 at Man­dava while Caps United edged How Mine 3-2 at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium.

FC Plat­inum lead the race with 51 points, four ahead of High­landers, while Caps United have 50 points with five games re­main­ing in the sea­son and Ak­bay is op­ti­mistic Bosso will end their 10-year bar­ren run in search of the league ti­tle.

They have won their last five league games in a row and the Dutch men­tor be­lieves their game against FC Plat­inum at Man­dava in Week 29 could be de­ci­sive.

“If we can win our next three games, then we’ll have a bet­ter chance. I’m sure if we win against FC Plat­inum it’ll be to our ad­van­tage. In fact, that game will prob­a­bly de­cide our fate.

“But Caps United could also take ad­van­tage. It’s still com­pli­cated,” said Ak­bay.

Bosso will face Cha­pungu away in their next league game be­fore host­ing Bu­l­awayo City.

They will then play Tsholot­sho in Bu­l­awayo ahead of the trip to Man­dava.

High­landers will wrap up their cam­paign against Hwange at home.

“We’ve to win ev­ery week. Like I said to the guys, ‘if you want some­thing big you have to win your matches.’ Now we’ve won five games in a row. “We re­ally want to con­tinue win­ning and then hope that the top two will drop points at some stage. “It’s frus­trat­ing they also won their games. What mat­ters though is that we’ve to win our own matches con­sis­tently. “I’m happy with the fight­ing spirit in our side. Some­times you con­cede some of those stupid goals and you’ve to work hard af­ter­wards. This is what has been hap­pen­ing but I’m happy with the boys’ fight­ing char­ac­ter.” High­landers had to come from be­hind with goals from Si­mon Mu­nawa and Erick Mudz­ingwa, from the penalty spot, af­ter Ngezi Plat­inum had taken the lead through Ta­tenda Machisa. Al­though Ngezi Plat­inum coach Ton­derai Ndi­raya ques­tioned Bosso’s last-gasp penalty, tele­vi­sion re­plays showed the de­fender pulled Ralph Matema’s shorts and ref­eree Phi­lani Ncube made a brave, but ul­ti­mately cor­rect, call. Caps United coach Lloyd Chitem­bwe was also in bullish mood fol­low­ing their win over How Mine. Chitem­bwe said Caps will fight their own bat­tles up to the fin­ish­ing line. FC Plat­inum coach Nor­man Mapeza re­mained hum­ble af­ter his side com­pleted back-to-back wins over Dy­namos for the first time since the min­ers were pro­moted in 2011. “We’re not putting our­selves un­der pres­sure be­cause God knows our des­tiny. We didn’t plan to get goals from set pieces and that is how the game is. “Af­ter the Bor­der Strik­ers game, we talked to the boys and said, ‘if you re­ally want to win the cham­pi­onship, we have to fight’. “There are more games to come and we re­ally need to fo­cus,” said Mapeza. FC Plat­inum’s last five matches will be against Harare City (away), Ngezi Plat­inum (home), Cha­pungu (away), High­landers (home) and Tsholot­sho (away). —

Tsholot­sho’s MacClive Phiri (left) tries to get the ball from Harare City’s Ed­win Mad­han­hanga dur­ing a soc­cer league match played at Lu­veve Sta­dium, Bu­l­awayo, yes­ter­day. Pic­ture by Den­nis Mudza­miri

Erol Ak­bay

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