Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
Badly bruised and bloodied, Highlanders head to Sakubva Stadium in Mutare tomorrow with a clear and non-negotiable mission, to collect a second set of maximum points in their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League campaign this season.
Amhlolanyama, hit by a solitary strike last week when they faced City neighbours Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium which left their legion of fans seething with anger, collide with league debutants Tenax, who have not lost in their last two games and are also yet to concede.
“As you all are aware, this game is a must-win game. I would like to assure you that we are all doubling our efforts to make sure that we bring back three points from Mutare. We are placing all our energies on bringing home three points,” head coach Mandla Lulu Mpofu told the media during a press conference on Thursday.
That this has been the same promise by Mpofu right from game one against Black Rhinos is common knowledge but this time he knows pretty well that maximum points is indeed what his troops must come back to Bulawayo with.
How that happens shall matter not, the clearly restless fans just want three points.
On their part, the players too must show a hunger to win, they must prove that they are indeed fit to don that black and white shirt and go down into the annals of history as that crop of players which broke a decade and a half championship drought for Highlanders.
A side that considers itself giants not only in their City but also beyond going for 15 years without a league title is certainly an insult to football and maybe an embarrassment to its ever faithful supporters, many of whom consider the club not just as a football team but, to tap from former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell’s famous 2011 statement about the Catalonian giants, a ‘feeling’.
This is what makes this club different. This is what makes Bosso unique. This is what makes Highlanders a joy for its supporters. However, this season Bosso has not been different, it has not been unique and certainly it has not been a joy to its supporters, in fact it has brought nothing but misery.
While the coach, whenever things don’t go according to script, is the natural target in the blame game, players too must be made aware that they are not indispensable hence time to up their game.
Tomorrow’s game presents them with a perfect opportunity to turn things around away from their sometimes intimidating fans at Barbourfields Stadium, they have a chance to have left as villains and returning home as heroes.
Club captain Ariel Sibanda and his deputy Nqobizitha Masuku assured their fans in no uncertain terms on Thursday that they were ready to break their legs at Sakubva Stadium.
“Sometimes as players, we have to talk between ourselves and remind each other of our duties and this great institution that we represent. We have sat down and discussed how we can turn things around.
I can tell you that the boys are ready for the next game. We are in this together as the Highlanders family. I think we need each other more than ever. As players we feel sorry for the supporters. As we go to Mutare, my plea to fans is that we support each other in good and bad times. We believe it shall be well,” said Sibanda.
Masuku chipped in:
“We promise to turn the leaf and win our first match away from home”.
Bosso have always found the trip to Manicaland not a pleasant one largely due to playing field’s state. This time though they will be hoping that the duo of Pritchard Mphelele and big Stanley ‘Lukaku’ Ngala, who have photographic knowledge of Sakubva Stadium, will assist.
Tenax coach Shadreck Mugurasave believes Bosso in their present state are more dangerous than ever.
The coach expects Bosso to play even better when desperately needing a win. He said as a club, Bosso was capable of ‘rising’ anytime, an indication that he actually is convinced that the Highlanders are at the moment, fallen giants.
“We respect Highlanders. They are a big club that can rise at any time. I really don’t think their previous results matter. Remember our team is new in the league so we have to go in there with all the respect we can give them,” said Mugurasave.
Article Source: The Chronicle