Ricky Zililo in Harare
BULAWAYO giants Highlanders were left with a question as to what they should do to end their winless run after being booted out of the Chibuku Super Cup in the semi-final by Harare City on Sunday. They have now gone for five matches without a win. Their performance against Harare City who clobbered them 3-0 at Rufaro Stadium was far below expectations as they played second fiddle to their opponents who will meet FC Platinum in the final.
The rate at which Highlanders are conceding goals is very alarming. They have let in 11 goals in four matches, scoring once in their 1-3 defeat to ZPC Kariba.
On Sunday, questions were raised on the players’ fitness levels. Harare City exposed their lack of speed and power.
Another concern was the players’ body language which showed that the bad spell that they are facing is having a toll on them.
Even the roping in of veteran gaffer Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu to help Mark Mathe did not bring immediate change of fortunes for Bosso. Maybe conceding three goals compared to their last 4-0 league defeat to Caps United is the only notable change.
In his post-match interview Mathe put his charges on the spotlight, calling on them to self-introspect.
“I think we lack the fighting mentality needed and it’s time that the players need to look in the mirror and ask if they are really doing enough to deserve to put on the Highlanders jersey. There are 15 points to play for in the league and that is what we must concentrate on as we fight to earn a top four finish to enable us to compete in the Mbada Diamonds Cup. We just need to finish the season strongly,” he said.
Highlanders face stern challenges from Hwange, FC Platinum and Chicken Inn who are breathing heavily at the back and are within top four finish.
They face Chicken Inn in their next league game, an encounter that they cannot afford to lose.
Their quest to rediscover their winning touch has been further disturbed by injuries of their key players with the latest victims being Erick Mudzingwa and Bruce Kangwa.
Joel Ngodzo, Gabriel Nyoni, Njabulo Ncube and Webster Chingodza are on the sidelines through injuries.
Now that they will watch Norman Mapeza’s FC Platinum and Harare City clash in the final of the Chibuku Super Cup, Highlanders need to get their act together and avoid fighting for a top eight finish.
Mapeza expressed his desire for a top four finish as well as lifting the Chibuku Super Cup.
“I’m very happy we have managed to make it to the final. We have been working very hard since the tournament started so we make it and win this cup. Reaching the final has taken pressure off our shoulders, we just need to go and enjoy the final,” he said.
FC Platinum beat Black Rhinos 1-0 in the other semi-final on Saturday.
The Zvishavane club should expect a tough final as Harare City have declared they will give the platinum miners a good run for their money.
“The final will be a tightly contested game but as a coach, I want to win this trophy. Both clubs (FC Platinum and Harare City) enjoy knocking around the ball and that sets the tone for an exciting final. This is my first final as a coach and we will prepare accordingly to win the cup,” said Masimba Dinyero, Harare City’s coach.