Highlanders head coach Erol Akbay says time is running out fast for the Bulawayo football giants to find a new winning formula after losing key players in his squad mid-season.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Highlanders lost leading scorer Prince Dube, who joined South Africa’s SuperSport United, while Roderick Mutuma also packed his bags back to Harare to join Yadah FC after a six-month flirtation with Bosso.
Akbay says he has been trying to change his style of play since the departure of the two strikers.
“In the last few weeks it has not been going the way I want with my team, but we are still working,” Akbay said yesterday.
“We are still working on finding the best 11 because even our strike force is not getting those chances that we normally we got. We used to get eight chances to score, but now we get only two or four. What it means is we have to find the best system of play that we can use. I hope we find the solution very fast. The way we are playing from defence to the midfield is okay and thereafter it is not. There are a lot of wrong decisions that are being made and that is why we are not creating many chances.”
In the four matches that Highlanders have played in the second half of the season, they lost to Bulawayo City and ZPC Kariba recording a single win away to Shabanie, while a draw against Harare City earned them a point.
The Dutchman, who has announced that he will not be renewing his contract when it expires at the end of the year, says he has tried the other strikers that remained, but without joy and his only other option will be to seek the goals from the midfielders like what he did last year when he lost Knox Mutizwa and Bruce Kangwa.
“Maybe we have to resort to what we did last year and try to find scorers from the midfield and not the strikers. But time is not on our side. We have to find the solution very fast. That is what happens if you lose two players in mid-season. That is why you see even Barcelona are struggling without Neymar. They lost only one player and they struggle.
Highlanders have lost four players in two years and it’s normal that we should struggle in the circumstances.”
Upfront he has tried veteran Ralph Matema, Godfrey Makaruse, Gabriel Nyoni, Nhlanhla Ndlovu and the young Ray Lunga, but he is not happy with his side having dropped to position seven on the log table with 32 points in 20 games, more than 12 points behind the log leaders.
Highlanders host Tsholotsho at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow afternoon.