Highlanders’ strike force worst in history

03 Dec, 2023 - 00:12 0 Views
Highlanders’ strike force worst in history Calvin Chigonero

The Sunday News

Lovemore Dube, Sports Hub Coordinator
HIGHLANDERS Football Club this year scored the least number of goals in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) season in which they found the target 24 times in 34 matches.

This was the worst strike rate by the club since the introduction of the Premier League in 1993. Bosso won the inaugural championship and scored 53 goals in the process from 30 matches in an Adam Ndlovu inspired attack. This year, Highlanders started the season well with a water tight defence but a not so impressive offensive under coach Baltemar Brito. Goals were scarce with small margin victories, a majority of the goals coming from setpieces with Andrew Mbeba the architect.

Lack of goals as a result of poor creativity and finishing punctuated the Bulawayo giants’ season who up to the last four games appeared still in the championship equation. However, things started falling apart after the 19th game when FC Platinum stopped them followed by another loss to Chicken Inn.

Andrew Mbeba

Bosso would concede more goals in the next games losing 3-0 in the boardroom after Dynamos were awarded that scoreline in a match stopped by violence when Dynamos were leading 2-0 and looked like would have a goals avalanche.

The second lowest was in 2007 when Bosso found the target 27 times as defending champions when Ralph Matema’s absence appeared to be felt.

In 2019, a lethargic Highlanders scored 30 goals from 34 matches. The years 2009 and 2010 were also low scoring with returns of 31 and 32 respectively and just like 2011, the seasons had 30 matches.

The 2003 season when the title went to AmaZulu with Bosso second, 26 matches were played and Highlanders found the back of the net 40 times. But the highest scoring season for the club was in 2000 in which the destruction duo of Zenzo Moyo and Thabani Masawi scored almost 40 of the team’s haul of 73 goals.

After struggling with goals this season in particular the second half, Highlanders FC finished a disappointing fifth, a situation most likely to trigger the club not to renew the contract of the Portuguese coach who is the interim national team coach.

Highlanders have always prospered with a tough centre-back pairing, enterprising wingbacks, fluent wingers, efficient midfield and a precise centre striker who is effective in finishing crosses and lay ups, something that has been lacking in recent years.

So pathetic was the strikeforce that the joint top goal scorers this season, Calvin Chigonero (striker) and midfielder Melikhaya Ncube registered just three goals each. This was a huge setback compared to the 2022 season where the top goalscorer, Lynoth Chikuwa, though not so impressive, managed ten goals.
(Graphs and goals compilation by Noel Munzambwa)

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