The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
DESPITE their opponents Tenax languishing on the wrong end of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log standings, Highlanders coach Baltemar Brito is anticipating a tough battle this afternoon when the two teams meet at Barbourfields Stadium.
Brito has already seen Bosso struggle against teams in the relegation zone. Last Sunday, they scrapped through to overcome Bulawayo City 1-0 and the week before, they had lost 1-2 away to bottom of log-placed Whawha. Tenax are second from bottom.
“We lost to Whawha who are last on the table, we had a difficult game against Bulawayo City, and of course we will have a difficult game against Tenax. We are always saying that because we know that if we relax maybe it can be catastrophic for us, so it will be a difficult game, they are a team, they defend out together, 11 players behind the ball and they look for the counter-attack so in these kind of games it’s not easy at all and the season runs to the end and to conquer points is more hard than ever because they need points,’’ Brito said.
Brito expects his players to be motivated when they face Tenax. Amahlolanyama laboured to a 1-0 win over Amakhosi, Godfrey Makaruse with the only goal of the match. The coach, however, feels that what is more important is that they managed to secure three points even when they were not at their best.
“About the last game against Bulawayo City, of course it wasn’t the best performance but sometimes it’s better not to play so well and collect three points than play and don’t collect three points as we did for example in two games that we didn’t collect three points,’’ he said.
Brito conceded that was not a stroll in the park against City who are rejuvenated and looking to fight their way out of relegation.
He attributed the struggle against City to the fact that three players who started the match, Bukhosi Sibanda, Darlington Munkuli and Toto Banda are not regular starters. Brito is, however, delighted that the players he started are appreciating what he wants to achieve at Bosso.
“We didn’t do so well but people should understand that we did some changes on the starting 11 when we put three players, they didn’t play too much minutes at all and the people that replaced the ones that were playing during the match were people who don’t play too much. This means that the people are working well, it’s not easy to be outside and go inside and win a derby, meaning that they are understanding the process and meaning that with time, all of them will be ready to be in the starting 11,’’ Brito said.
There was excitement at Highlanders last week when the club promoted three more youngsters to the first team. Nigel Ncube, Mason Mushore and Daniel Msendami are now part of the senior team. They join Prince Ndlovu and Mthabisi Ncube. Bosso are also said to have signed 19-year-old Jayden Barake of Whawha, scorer of eight goals for the Gweru-based team so far this season.
One thing for sure is that Brito is looking to younger players to reawaken the sleeping giant that is Highlanders who have not won the championship since a team coached by Bosso son Methembe Ndlovu and captained by Gilbert Banda last did so in 2006.
— Follow on Twitter @Mdawini_29