BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS captain Ariel Sibanda is confident his side will progress to the quarter-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup despite the ongoing turbulence at the club as players demand a review of their salaries.
Highlanders players last week only trained on Saturday following a week of sit-ins to force for an upward review of their salaries.
On Sunday, they played their third Group 2 tie against Bulawayo City in a match that seemed to be headed for a goalless draw until they were awarded a penalty five minutes before full-time and Sibanda converted from the spot to hand the Bulawayo giants victory.
Referee Hardley Ndazi adjudged marauding striker Washington Navaya to have been brought down inside the penalty box by Bulawayo City’s Douglas Sibanda.
The players managed to set aside their squabbles with the club management and emerged with a win which kept them on second position in Group 2 at par on seven points with leaders Chicken Inn.
“It was a difficult game as you know derbies are always difficult. We tried our best after we said let us put our problems aside and focus on the game. We know the Chibuku Super Cup has a lot of money and we need the money,” the veteran goalminder said
He said he was happy to have helped the team stay on course.
“Taking penalties is a big responsibility. I took that responsibility and managed to convert the penalty. I am happy; happy for everyone, the club and fans. It is possible (to reach the quarter-finals) and we will take it game-by-game and see how it goes. We are not going to put ourselves under pressure,” Sibanda said.
Had City had the firepower, they could have turned the heat on Highlanders who showed signs of fatigue in the second half.
Bosso coach Mandla Mpofu was also elated with the win.
However, he is still worried about his strikers’ failure to score, but he said Sunday’s win put them on the right pedestal to progress to the next stage of the tournament.
“We are giving ourselves high chances of progressing, especially after collecting the three points. We need to focus on our next game and see what will take place,” Mpofu said.
Chicken Inn maintained top position in Group 2 after beating Bulawayo Chiefs 2-0 on Saturday at BF — an own goal by Malvin Mkolo and a second from Malvin Gaki.
With Chicken Inn and Highlanders sitting at the top on seven points apiece, they look likely to pull through to the quarter-finals since Chiefs and City have a point each with three games to go.
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