HIGHLANDERS head coach Erol Akbay has urged striker Roderick Mutuma to put his emotions aside and play his normal game when he faces his former employers Dynamos in an epic Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Mutuma, who has scored one goal in the league for Highlanders so far, tried too hard against DeMbare in the Independence Trophy final at the National Sports Stadium on April 18 when he first faced his former club.
Akbay yesterday said he was aware playing one’s former club comes with its emotions, but had admonished Mutuma to keep his cool and focus on playing a good game against DeMbare.
“If you play against your former team and guys that you have played with before, it’s a little bit emotional and you cannot do anything about it,” Akbay said. “But I hope he just plays good football. He knows Dynamos’ weaknesses, he knows the players and that is why for him it will be more emotional than the other players, but all I can say to him is that he has to focus on his own game. If he does not focus, he is not going to play a good game and that will be bad for us. So he has no choice, but we will see on the day.”
While Highlanders will be without striker Prince Dube due to injury, the Harare giants will be missing central defender Obey Mwerahari, who is suspended after picking up three yellow cards.
Akbay led Highlanders to a double over Dynamos last season whom they had not beaten in 10 years.
He acknowledged that this time around DeMbare have a quicker team although for him not much has changed in the way they play.
“The only difference this year is that Dynamos have fast strikers and our defenders have to be much focused because those strikers can be dangerous if you have slow defenders. We have played them before and we know exactly how they play and can strategise for them and are ready for that.”
The Bulawayo giants welcome back right-back Bukhosi Ncube, who had been struggling with nagging knee injury of late.