The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
HIGHLANDERS’ long suffering fans will troop into Barbourfields Stadium this afternoon asking themselves if today will be the day they celebrate their first win, eight matches into the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season.
Bosso’s woeful start to the season has left tongues wagging in the black and white family as fans wonder what is happening at the famous team. Fans are hoping today’s match will see the boys turn the corner and produce results and lift them from the dismal form that has seen Bosso slide to the very unfamiliar position of being second from bottom on log.
The emergence of online banter has seen Highlanders being the butt of jokes with teams heading to Barbourfields lining up to throw a jibe or two at the struggling giants. Herentals, who take on Bosso at Emagumeni this afternoon could not resist the urge and threw their own jibe at Highlanders highlighting that former Dynamos gaffer, Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe was fired after losing to the school boys.
Could the same fate await Highlanders technical manager, Madinda Ndlovu if his boys fail to rise to the occasion today?
Herentals’ taunt highlights the importance of the match to Highlanders particularly in ending the goal drought faced by the club that has seen Bosso score only twice in seven matches. Highlanders’ barren strikers have now become the focal point with the technical department scratching their heads on how they could turn the chances they create into goals.
Ndlovu revealed during the week they were surprised with the way the strikers were failing to convert the chances they were creating as they were doing everything else right on the pitch. He said they were missing the final touch with strikers hitting the ball in every direction but not into the net.
Fans are, however, questioning the wisdom of persistently giving a starting berth to Tinashe Makanda as the gunman when he has failed to deliver the goals. Makanda has been the only player upfront who has been a constant feature in the Highlanders side and has had the luxury of playing full matches. Fans have had the agony of their side play entertaining football and maintaining possession but ultimately fail to do the most important duty of scoring goals leading to calls for Ndlovu to tweak the team just a little bit, including reshuffling the strikers.
A change in tactics that has seen Ndlovu at one time employ three attackers, changing personnel in midfield and using three defenders have not yielded the much desired goals. In last week’s match against Chicken Inn, a lack of supply upfront saw Prince Dube, who reportedly shed tears in the dressing room, having to track back into the midfield in search of the ball to start meaningful attacks.
The absence of Denzel Khumalo has been another talking point with some believing his presence can be game changing but Ndlovu indicated the midfielder has to work on his fitness before being drafted back into the squad. Irrespective of who is selected for duty today, Bosso fans will be hoping the side will shake off a week of drama at the club that saw allegations of sabotage being raised in media reports and being denied as the technical department presented a united front.
Herentals are on position 12 on the log and will be looking to add to Highlanders troubles with coach, Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva hoping they can stretch their point difference with Highlanders to six from the current three. The school boys will be buoyed by their feat of beating the other highly followed team in Zimbabwe, Dynamos at home and also collect maximum points at BF.