HIGHLANDERS’ fans were left fuming and demanding an explanation to the crisis bedeviling the side after the team suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League against Chapungu at Hartsfields stadium yesterday.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
After putting a dominant display in the first half, the Highlanders’ sparkle disappeared in the second, as Chapungu took full advantage with a goal by substitute Brighton Mugoni 11 minutes before the final whistle, which settled the match.
Bosso fans gathered around the dressing room demanding audience with the club leadership, but they were soon dispersed.
The team’s acting chairman, Modern Ngwenya called for patience.
“They (the fans) should be calm and be patient. We should have won the game in the first half. It is just a bad patch. There is hope. We played good football, but we did not utilise our chances,” he said.
The Bulawayo giants put up a splendid display in the first half, but they failed to make it count with goals.
King Nadolo could have got a goal on 31 minutes, but goalkeeper Roy Mazingi pushed his effort out for a corner.
Bosso left-back Charlton Siamalonga packed a thunderbolt a minute before the break, but Mazingi was equal to the task, punching the ball out for a corner-kick.
Nadolo was at it again in the 53rd minute with a stylish effort from a Gabriel Nyoni cross, but watched the ball sail over the bar.
After all the wasted chances, the Bulawayo giants were punished by Mugoni in the 79th minute, who rushed onto a loose ball from a scramble inside the box to earn the airmen the three points.
Highlanders head coach, Erol Akbay reiterated that the problem at Highlanders was lack of strikers, lamenting the loss of Prince Dube and Roderick Mutuma in mid-season and blaming the whole scenario on the executive, who have failed to bring in good replacements for the departed strikers.
“It’s still the same problem, even when we play these young guys we still have the same problem. We cannot score and if you cannot score you cannot win a game. This is proof that we miss our strikers,” he explained. “If anyone thinks we have strikers, then the proof was there today, we don’t have any. I did my best today to make sure we win the game. I feel there is no crisis for me personally, Highlanders have a crisis. I know what I am doing. Of course, if you lose as a coach you have pressure but my conscience is very clean. The problem is strikers,” he said.
Akbay sat on the bench alone on the technical side, with Melusi Sibanda sitting in the terraces after assistant Amini Soma-Phiri resigned last Tuesday.
Chapungu coach, Tendai Chikuni was elated.
“Highlanders dominated the first half and we brought in youngsters to match the type of play. We did well playing away from home. It is very commendable getting three points away from home,” he said.
The airmen shot to 11th from 14 after the win.
Highlanders: A Sibanda, B Ncube, C Siamalonga (H Moyo 77’), B Phiri, T Ndlovu (T Ngulube 84’), R Kutsanzira, R Lunga (R Matema 58’), B Banda, G Nyoni, K Nadolo, A Silla
Chapungu: R Mazingi, C Mativenga, R Sibanda, B Mbavarira, C Kwaramba, M Muchangani, I Nyoni (B Sahondo 61’), T Chitora, A Tavarwisa, P Kumbula (B Mugoni 63’), P Marufu (L Gwerina 49’)