HIGHLANDERS coach Erol Akbay wants his players to put behind the 3-0 defeat to Black Rhinos on Wednesday and focus on their next Premier Soccer League match against Hwange set for Barbourfields tomorrow.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The Bulawayo giants were hammered by the surprise log leaders in Harare, which was Akbay’s heaviest defeat since joining the club last year.
It was also the team’s first loss this campaign.
But the Dutchman said while the defeat was disappointing, considering it was his side which played better on the day, his players should not drop their heads, but pick themselves up and move on.
“We played good football on Wednesday and I was happy with the performance, but what is important is to get the points. It was just bad luck. We have 21 points and the top team has 26, so we are still in there (title race),” he said.
“We have to pick maximum points against Hwange. There might be a lot of things happening inside and outside the club and the talk about referees, but we have to focus on our game and make sure we get the points and everything will be back on track. That is the only way we can chase for the championship.”
Highlanders have lost two of their home matches against Chicken Inn and Shabanie Mine this year, while their abandoned match against Dynamos at home was awarded to the Harare side.
Following their loss last week, which was their second in the last three matches, they slipped down to position eight on the log table with 21 points, five points behind leaders Black Rhinos.
Hwange arrive in Bulawayo in a far worse situation, having not won in their last seven games, drawing three and losing all the others.
The team has been on a rebuilding exercise following the departure of a number of players, but coach Nation Dube believes the new boys are coping well and will get the desired results soon.
He, however, reckons the clash against a bruised Highlanders side will be very tough.
“Highlanders are coming from a defeat and it’s not going to be easy, but we will put up a fight because we want the points,” he said.
“We are in a precarious position, but we are trying hard. The boys are coping and we must start picking up points.”
Across town at Luveve Stadium, Bulawayo City, who are coming from a 1-0 loss to Chapungu at Ascot Stadium in Gweru on Wednesday, host Yadah FC tomorrow.