HIGHLANDERS’ Dutch coach, Erol Akbay, gets down to work tomorrow at the Bulawayo giants, having spent a week familiarising himself with his new employers.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
He watched the Bulawayo Football Festival from the terraces yesterday, with assistant coach Cosmos Zulu at Barbourfields Stadium, while Amin Soma-Phiri presided.
Zulu said Akbay spent a week watching proceedings from the sidelines, but will take charge today.
“He came here only recently so he doesn’t know the players yet,” Zulu said. He has been watching training since he arrived, but has not acquainted himself with the players. Tomorrow (today) he will be presenting to us his training programme and Tuesday (tomorrow) he starts work. We don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on him at the moment.”
Highlanders, who paraded an array of new players from the junior ranks, beat How Mine 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 regulation time stalemate in the second semi-final of the four-team tournament yesterday to meet newly-promoted Premier Soccer League side Bulawayo City, who also overcame Tsholotsho 3-1 also through penalties in the first semi-final.
City and Tsholotsho had played a goalless draw in regulation time.
Highlanders’ new boy Brian Banda scored the opener in the fifth minute with How Mine, under new coach Kelvin Kaindu, equalising 10 minutes later through former Chicken Inn player Toto Banda.
Bosso had Tafadzwa Chobobo, Tendai Ndlovu, Ryan Mabhena, Danmore Chakanza and Adrian Silla as some of the new faces in the first team.
They also had former Harare City’s Mhleli Sibanda and Moreblessing Nyokanhete, who was making a return from a stint in Botswana.
Familiar faces in the line-up yesterday included Bruce Kangwa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Erick Mudzingwa, Gabriel Nyoni, Simon Munawa and goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni.
The former Premier League champions had Sitali Nyambwe, a goalkeeper from Zambia.
How Mine also gave a run to their new recruits who included Given Kutsanzira, Banda, Qadr Amin, Praise Tonha, Pasca Manhanga and Kudzi Chideu.
Tsholotsho United also took the opportunity to test their new ammunition in Giacomo Ratto from Italy, former Zesco United’s Zimiseleni Moyo, Gift Saunyama, Bruno Madanhire, Xolani Ndlovu, Nicholas Mandandisha and Leeroy Rwokuda.
Bulawayo City paraded skilful Mohammed Kourouma from Guinea and Brian Chikwenya who played for Division One side Bulawayo Chiefs last year.