Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO giants Highlanders have been presented with an opportunity to salvage something from a disastrous season after being paired with Harare City in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup.
The Chibuku Super Cup kicks-off next week, with the teams drawn first playing at home. This means that Highlanders begin their campaign in Bulawayo.
Bosso are technically out of the Premiership title race and hard-pressed to end the season with a major silverware. The Bulawayo giants will need to up their game in the Chibuku Super Cup whose winners will represent Zimbabwe in the Caf Confederation Cup.
Erol Akbay, the Highlanders’ coach, said his desire is to leave the club with a major silverware and believes they have what it takes to win the Chibuku Super Cup.
The Dutchman will leave Bosso at the end of the season after indicating that he will not extend his stay.
However, Akbay was quick to point out that Harare City, who gave them a scare at Barbourfields Stadium when they drew 0-0 in a league match, are tricky opponents.
“Harare City are not an easy team because they have technically good players in their squad. We are going to do everything to make sure that we go through to the quarter-finals.
“We want to win this tournament and end the season with a major cup, which means we have to work hard. It is possible to win this tournament because you only have to do well in four games – the first round, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final,” said Akbay.
He is also hoping that his charges build-up from their impressive performance against Dynamos.
Last season Highlanders were knocked out in the semi-finals by Ngezi Platinum Stars, who went on to lift the Cup at the expense of FC Platinum.
Ngezi will begin their title defence against league champions Caps United in what is probably the pick of the first round.
According to the draw conducted in the capital yesterday, the top eight teams in the championship race at the halfway mark, were seeded at the draw and will also be at home in the first round of matches.
Harare giants Dynamos will be at home to Bulawayo City in the first round, with Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship contenders Chicken Inn set to face the winner of the preliminary match between Hwange and Yadah FC.
The league decided to have the bottom four teams as of Week 17 competing in the preliminary round, with the winners of the two games joining the top 14 league teams.
The other preliminary match will see Tsholotsho FC and Bantu Rovers squaring off for a ticket to face How Mine.
Winners of the tournament will pocket $75 000 and will also play against the league winners in a Castle Challenge Cup, which will wrap the PSL’s 25-year celebrations on December 5.
Dynamos v Bulawayo City; Chicken Inn v Preliminary Match One winner (Hwange v Yadah); Black Rhinos v Triangle; Ngezi Platinum v Caps United; How Mine v Preliminary Match Two winner (Tsholotsho/Bantu Rovers); Highlanders v Harare City; ZPC Kariba v Shabanie