COACH Erol Akbay says he is putting up everything to make sure he collects points from his former club Highlanders and lift up his new side Ngezi Platinum Stars when the two clubs clash in a potentially explosive Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie at Baobab Stadium today.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The Dutchman spent two years at Highlanders, finishing the 2016 season on position three before sliding to the sixth spot in 2017.
He meets Highlanders for the first time since parting ways with the club at the end of 2017.
Ngezi Platinum Stars are eyeing the league title under Akbay after parting ways with Tonderai Ndiraya last year, but have had a slow start to the season, with only four victories, five draws and three defeats from 12 games.
Akbay has promised fireworks at Baobab this afternoon.
“It’s always good playing against your former club; you know most of the players and the people, including the supporters there. That makes it a very exciting game for me to play against Highlanders. But my salary is paid by Ngezi and it means I have to do everything to win that match. Highlanders play good football, but they are not scoring. We play the same type of football and it will be an exciting game for the fans. This is a game for the players. Playing a big team like Highlanders, motivates the players,” Akbay said.
He said he was buoyed by the fact that Ngezi Platinum Stars have not lost a game at Baobab this year.
Ngezi Platinum Stars also collected six points from Highlanders last season. This time around, they travel to Mhondoro without coach Madinda Ndlovu, who quit to join Gaborone United in Botswana.
“We have not lost at home and have to keep it that way. We know how Highlanders play; I have seen them two or three times before. I know their strengths and weaknesses. If my boys stick to our tactical game, we have a good chance.”
On his quest for the league title, Akbay said the teams at the top had also been losing points and he believes the race is still open.
Qadir Amin could be bouncing back for Ngezi Platinum Stars today, while Kelvin Bulaji is out injured.