The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THAT Highlanders are finding the going tough this season is not a secret, it is the magnitude of the magnitude of that struggle that is shocking.
Highlanders have won just five of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches they have played this season, with all those wins recorded at Barbourfields. Bosso are yet to pick up any win away from home, something that is unusual for a big team like Highlanders.
The fallen giants face Hwange at the Colliery Stadium this afternoon searching for their first win of the season away from home.
Mandla Mpofu, the Highlanders coach is banking on his team’s impressive record against Hwange at the Colliery. While Bosso were drubbed 3-0 by Chipangano in their last visit to the coal mining town at the end of last year, they have always enjoyed success at the Colliery.
“Even if you go back in history, Highlanders have always gone to Hwange and collected points, they have gone to Hwange and won those games with big margins. This year so many teams have gone there, they have struggled, it’s not an easy place to go,’’ Mpofu said.
Mpofu is looking to the Hwange fixture to be the beginning of winning away from home.
“We are positive that we will start winning our games, we will start winning our game against Hwange away from home. At this moment I think the boys are ready. We are really positive that we are going to Hwange to get three points but its not an easy place to go and get points there.”
The Highlanders coach had agreed with his employers to pick up six points from three matches, something that is now impossible. Bosso lost away to Triangle then drew 0-0 with Mushowani Stars at Emagumeni. He declared that he is directing his energy to getting his boys to play better football that can bring with it positive results.
“My job at this moment is to channel all the energy that I have in making it a point that I come up with a better game plan and strategy to go in Hwange and get three points, it’s very important,’’ he said.
The man who assumed the Bosso coaching job from Madinda Ndlovu at the beginning of July is still optimistic that the team can get out of their current position. Highlanders headed into this weekend’s fixtures in 13th spot in the 18 team log.
“I am still positive that as a team we can get away from where we are, it’s not a good position. We haven’t won away from Bulawayo and we’re still searching for our first win away from Bulawayo which is key at this moment,’’ Mpofu said.
Highlanders and Hwange drew 0-0 in the first meeting between the two teams at Barbourfields in May. Well assembled sides like Ngezi Platinum Stars and Chicken Inn have walked out of the Colliery empty handed this season. Even defending champions FC Platinum and Dynamos could only get one point against Hwange, a clear indication that Highlanders cannot expect a stroll in the park.
In the only other fixture lined up for this afternoon, Mushowani Stars clash with Chapungu at Trojan Mine Stadium.