Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BELEAGUERED Bulawayo soccer giants Highlanders’ captains yesterday assured the club’s supporters that they won’t be caught on the wrong side of history by getting the country’s oldest side relegated.
Bosso are going through their worst of starts in more than three decades and are slowly sinking in the murky relegation waters, sitting second from the bottom of the league table and winless in eight games.
Highlanders have embarrassingly been goal shy and only scored two goals in eight games.
The captains, goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defender Tendai Ndlovu and midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku, said they are feeling the heat both on and off the field.
Below are excerpts of the players’ interview.
Ariel Sibanda: “We’re working hard to try and find a winning formula every time we’re at training. If we haven’t been applying the right techniques in front of goal or losing composure, be rest assured that at training we’re working hard to get it right. We’re not even thinking about ithimu ibotshiwe because we know our job is to play football and come up with goals.
“We’re not worried about what is happening outside the field of play, but this is not to say we don’t care about our supporters. We’re trying to keep the same spirit heading to the next game. The past results have gone under the bridge and the guys are looking motivated and looking forward to the next game.
“We still have a chance to get into the top four. There was a time when Real Madrid led by 14 points, but failed to win the championship. Most recently Liverpool had a comfortable lead, but they lost the championship to Manchester City. If you look at our league, if we manage to win the next four or five games we will move up. We’ve got that belief that once we start winning we can go up to 10 to 15 games without losing. If you look at the games we lost, it was because whenever we conceded we lost confidence, but once we start winning our confidence will certainly grow.
“To the supporters, we plead that they shouldn’t stop believing in us because we need them most during these trying times. This season surely belongs to our supporters and they must know that whatever we’re going to achieve this season it’s all because of them as they’ve been faithfully rallying behind us after a bad start.”
Nqobizitha Masuku: “After all the games we’ve played, as captains and some senior players, we’ve tried to motivate each other, highlighting the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. We’ve never stopped believing and the attitude is to keep pushing and never give up. Hopefully things will turn for the better soon.
“The coaches have been trying to motivate all the players, especially the youngsters. As captains we also have a responsibility to motivate and keep the guys focused. We are down, but certainly not out. We’re not in a good position, but there’s no way we will be relegated. We’re not even thinking about that because we still believe we will rise. Our aim is to get the first three points and everything shall fall into place.
“We’ve to keep improving with every game. We’ve been playing well, but playing well means scoring and winning, which hasn’t been happening. We’re worried, we’re working hard to rectify that soon. Our supporters have been great and we value the contribution of the 12th man. It’s about time we also return the favour and start winning.”
Tendai Ndlovu: “All we’ve been missing is that one goal. We’ve just been unlucky, but we’re working hard in terms of finishing. We believe we’re closer to getting that win. We understand the pain the supporters are going through. We’re pushing and we can tell that they are hurting whenever we see them leaving the stadium or when we meet them on the street.”