HIGHLANDERS head coach, Erol Akbay says he will consider the senior players he omitted last week when his team take on Chicken Inn in the Premier Soccer League in a Bulawayo derby at Barbourfields Stadium today.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Akbay left out Erick Mudzingwa, Simon Munawa, Tendai Ndlovu, Rahman Kutsanzira, Allen Gahadzikwa and Roderick Mutuma from the squad that played Bantu Rovers on Saturday, while Prince Dube came from the bench.
He accused the senior players of being complacent, following draws against Chapungu and Harare City, which left the Dutchman livid, and opting to play Yves Ebabali, Tambwe Kalunga, Benson Dube, King Nadolo, Gabriel Nyoni and Ralph Matema at the weekend, who had seen little game time previously.
However, he said the attitude had changed in the camp and he was likely to restore all the senior players in the starting line-up this afternoon.
The returning players will re-join goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, Bukhosi Ncube, Peter Muduhwa and Tendai Ngulube, some of the regulars, who kept their places in the team.
“What I said before is that I was not happy with the way they played against Chapungu and Harare City and I had to do without them against Bantu Rovers. But they have promised me they will do everything to win against Chicken Inn and I hope they do this tomorrow (today),” Akbay said.
“Maybe, it was a good thing not to play them because if you are not doing your best we look for better options. We have 29 players and everybody wants to play and it’s very good to ensure that we have competition. If you are not doing your best, you are out. We don’t have any favours for anyone.”
He is cautious against Chicken Inn, who also have their pressures, with coach Rahman Gumbo having won only one match in Bulawayo, beating Bantu Rovers 5-0 in the first league game.
“Tomorrow (today) is an important game for us against Chicken Inn, a good team with very good players. I think it’s one of the best teams in the country,” Akbay said.
“It will be a very difficult game for us, but we have to make sure that we win because we want the three points.”
Chicken Inn have lost to Bulawayo City, Black Rhinos, How Mine and FC Platinum in Bulawayo.
They welcome back left-back Devine Lunga, who missed the FC Platinum and Yadah FC (away) matches due to suspension, and bank on the evergreen Clemence Matawu in midfield, with Obadiah Tarumbwa upfront.