HIGHLANDERS head coach, Erol Akbay begins his solo run on the technical bench at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds tomorrow, when the Bulawayo giants clash with Chapungu after his assistant coach Amini Soma-Phiri resigned during the week.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Just before the mid-season break, Akbay had to go it alone for three matches after goalkeepers’ coach, Cosmas Zulu and Soma-Phiri were suspended.
Soma-Phiri was reinstated with Zulu demoted to the junior structures while Peter Nkomo bounced back as goalkeepers’ coach.
Highlanders have appointed Melusi Sibanda to assist Akbay, but the former Division One side Bosso 90 gaffer is not qualified to sit on the bench, while Nkomo is busy with the Mighty Warriors.
Nkomo is Mighty Warriors’ goalkeepers’ coach.
Tomorrow, Akbay will be without Central defender Peter Muduhwa, who is suspended after accumulating three yellow cards.
The Bulawayo giants have lost three successive league matches, but Akbay is putting up a brave face despite adversity.
“We have to try to be focused on scoring goals and win our matches. Despite what has been going on, the mood is good and morale is high in camp. Of course, you need someone to discuss the game with on the bench and give you support. An assistant coach is very important. I will definitely miss having someone on the bench,” he said.
The Bulawayo giants are on 32 points, 16 points behind leaders Chicken Inn.
They face Chapungu who fighting to steer clear of the relegation zone, sitting on position 12 on the log-table with 26 points.
Chapungu held Caps United to a goalless draw in their last league match at home in Gweru.
Championship aspirants, FC Platinum make the long trip to the coal-mining town of Hwange, where they face relegation-threatened Hwange at the Colliery tomorrow.
The Norman Mapeza-coached side, on position four with 45 points, beat Black Rhinos 1-0 at Mandava in their last league match and is up against Hwange on position 16 with 20 points