Bosso wary of How Mine
HIGHLANDERS want to avoid the dreaded penalty shootout in their Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final clash with city neighbours How Mine at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Bosso coach Erol Akbay has predicted a tightly contested match against the gold miners, whom he said are no pushovers, and has demanded maximum concentration from his charges.
The Dutch coach said the fact that they beat How Mine back-to-back in the league this season counts for nothing going into the cup game. He is also hoping that the gold miners, who knocked Dynamos out in the first round, will not use a defensive approach.
How Mine beat Dynamos 5-4 on penalties and Akbay wants his boys to secure victory in regulation time.
“In cup games, you get only one chance to win, that’s why you’ve to be more focused. How Mine are very difficult to beat. Everyone has a problem beating them. We beat them twice, but it was not an easy job and playing them now will be even tougher. If they play like Ngezi Platinum with 10 men behind the ball, it will be difficult to create chances. I hope they (How Mine) will open the game and avoid penalties. I understand that being defensive is part of football tactics, but I want us to win the game in 90 minutes,” said Akbay.
“Obviously as a coach you work on everything so that you win the tournament. You can train players on taking penalties, but what is important is not to allow the game to go to penalties, which is why I said we have to try to win the match in 90 minutes.”
Highlanders booked their quarter-final slot a fortnight ago when they knocked Mutare City 2-1 at Barbourfields Stadium. An own goal by Mutare City defender Munyaradzi Sako and a Ralph Matema strike were enough for Bosso to sail through, while their opponents scored through Agrippa Murimba.
Akbay, who has seen his team getting last gasp wins of late, is worried about this growing trend.
“We’ve shown character to fight and win games coming from behind, but I’m not happy with that because it puts us under pressure. It forces us to make tactical changes as we try to win the games and going forward I will be happy if we lead and maintain that lead for the entire game,” he said.
Highlanders will bank on goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defenders Peter Muduhwa and Tendai Ndlovu, skipper Felix Chindungwe, Rahman Kutsanzira and Simon Munawa to control their midfield, while Prince Dube and Nhlanhla Ndlovu will lead their strike force.
How Mine will be hoping goalkeeper Donovan Bernard, the backline of Victor Kamhuka, Praise Tonha, Qadr Amini and Tapiwa Khumbuyani can stand firm.
Zambian Mukundika Sakala will play as an anchorman for the gold miners, with Pasca Manhanga, Timothy January expected to do battle in the midfield, while Milton Ncube and Tinashe Makanda will be deployed to hunt for goals.
It is in the midfield where the battle will be won and the team that dominates that department is likely to advance to the next stage of the competition.
Both teams like positional dominance and are patient with their build-ups from the back.