Ak­bay, Tsipa Septem­ber’s best Bosso coach wary of Cha­pungu

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo Love­more Zi­gara in Gweru Te­dious Manyepo

HIGH­LANDERS’ mag­nif­i­cent run in Septem­ber has seen their Dutch coach Erol Ak­bay be­ing named Coach of the Month, while Caps United’s veteran for­ward Leonard Tsipa bagged the Player of the Month ac­co­lade. Spec­u­la­tion had been rife that High­landers’ solid de­fender Peter Muduhwa could claim the gong, as he has been in out­stand­ing form for Bosso and is one of the ma­jor rea­sons for the team’s bril­liant run. Iron­i­cally, Tsipa saw red against High­landers in a league match at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium in an off-the-ball in­ci­dent in which the veteran striker head-butted Muduhwa last month. The age­less Tsipa seems to have re­dis­cov­ered his goal scor­ing prow­ess of yes­ter­year and is now the league’s joint top goal scorer with Hwange’s Gift Mb­weti on nine goals. There is no sign to sug­gest that Tsipa will not score more goals as he is al­ways a threat each time he’s on the pitch. The Coach of the Month award is Ak­bay’s sec­ond monthly hon­our this sea­son and the Dutch­man was de­lighted with the recog­ni­tion last night. “Oh re­ally, I had not heard the news. I feel very good and quite happy, but to be hon­est I was not ex­pect­ing to win it. I thought it will be some­one else,” said Ak­bay, when Chron­i­cle Sport reached him for com­ment. High­landers, who had a rough jour­ney in the first games of the sec­ond half of the sea­son, re­dis­cov­ered their form in Septem­ber and are lit­er­ally bul­ly­ing each team they faced. They recorded five wins, four in the league and one in the Chibuku Su­per Cup. All the five wins were dra­matic, and they had to come from be­hind in three of them. High­landers came from a goal down to win 2-1 against Bor­der Strik­ers, Dy­namos and Ngezi Plat­inum in the league. They also beat Harare City at Ru­faro Sta­dium in a game the home side was awarded a du­bi­ous penalty that was saved by goal­keeper Ariel Sibanda. Bosso also booted out Mutare City Rovers from the Chibuku Su­per Cup in dra­matic fash­ion when Ak­bay in­tro­duced his trump card veteran striker Ralph Matema just as the visi­tors were brac­ing them­selves for a penalty shootout. Matema weaved his magic and Bosso won the game in reg­u­la­tion time. The se­lec­tion for the awards is done by a panel of se­lected jour­nal­ists, 16 club coaches and their captains. TI­TLE chas­ing High­landers have ruf­fled feath­ers af­ter rev­e­la­tions that they booked As­cot Sta­dium in Gweru for their train­ing ses­sions to­day and to­mor­row ahead of Satur­day’s Cas­tle Lager Premier­ship clash against Cha­pungu.

As­cot Sta­dium is owned by the Gweru City Coun­cil and is used by Cha­pungu as their home ground and also con­duct their train­ing ses­sions at the same venue. Cha­pungu con­ducts its train­ing ses­sions at 10AM as well as in the af­ter­noon.

How­ever, High­landers have been given the green light to train at As­cot in the af­ter­noon, leav­ing Cha­pungu in quandary due to the dou­ble book­ing. HIGH­LANDERS coach, Erol Ak­bay, knows any slip up by his charges at this stage of the league marathon will vir­tu­ally rule them out of the

A source in the city coun­cil con­firmed the dou­ble book­ing, say­ing the di­rec­tor of hous­ing and com­mu­nity ser­vices Shin­gi­rai Tigere had writ­ten a let­ter giv­ing Bosso per­mis­sion to train at the venue.

The move has drawn the ire of Cha­pungu, who have ac­cused High­landers of us­ing bul­ly­ing tac­tics ahead of their clash.

“We won’t ac­cept such an ar­range­ment. Where else have you seen such a thing hap­pen­ing? We have booked As­cot Sta­dium and we can­not can­cel to al­low an op­po­nent to train in our home ground,” said Cha­pungu vice-chair­man Ack­roid Moyo.

“What High­landers are do­ing is not good for football and if this is the way they are go­ing to win the league us­ing dirty tac­tics, then they are not wor­thy champions.” cham­pi­onship reck­on­ing a race they des­per­ately need to win to end their decade-long wait for the premier­ship crown.

The Bu­l­awayo giants are on the road to Gweru for a date with tricky cus­tomers Cha­pungu at As­cot this Satur­day in a match the Dutch men­tor has de­scribed as a “must-win”.

Bosso are third on the log stand­ings with 47 points, four adrift of ta­ble-top­pers FC Plat­inum who are eye­ing their first league ti­tle with only five games to play be­fore the cur­tain comes down on the sea­son.

Ak­bay’s charges have gone for six matches on the bound with­out drop­ping a sin­gle point but he sounded diplo­matic ahead of the Mid­lands tie.

“Cha­pungu is a very dan­ger­ous op­po­nent. They come at you like a house on fire and if you are not well pre­pared for their raids then you just crum­ble.

“They play good football and they have a very good coach who knows how to play his cards well.

“But, we are High­landers, a team with a re­al­is­tic chance of win­ning the ti­tle if other fix­tures go our way. We are in ready for the game and I am sure fans will be in for a treat come Satur­day. “This is a must­win game for us. We need to bag the points if we are to re­tain our chances of win­ning the league ti­tle. We have to win all our re­main­ing games in­clud­ing the one against Cha­pungu but one thing is for cer­tain, we need to re­spect our op­po­nents be­cause we know what they are ca­pa­ble of do­ing,” said Ak­bay. High­landers won the re­verse fix­ture 1-0 at Babour­fields early in the sea­son but Ak­bay reck­ons his team will not read much on their good record against Cha­pungu. Ak­bay has no in­jury or sus­pen­sions to worry about as he has the whole pool of his play­ers avail­able for the en­counter. The Dutch coach has en­deared him­self with the Bosso faith­ful this sea­son af­ter he mas­ter­minded a dou­ble over bit­ter ri­vals Dy­namos for the first time in 10 years.

Leonard Tsipa Erol Ak­bay

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