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Brito is brewing something beautiful at Highlanders

by Staff reporter
30 Jul 2022 at 14:07hrs | Views
SOMETHING is brewing at Highlanders and the brew master is Portuguese expatriate Baltermar Brito who has so far not only proved to have a good eye for the finest ingredients but a brewmaster of the highest calibre.

It might be early days as Brito has barely been two-months old at the club but a sweet aroma is coming out at Bosso, with much anticipation from the Highlanders family on what the coach will dish out.

The Portuguese coach has been in charge of five games, winning three – Black Rhinos 3-2, Manica Diamonds 3-0 and Bulawayo City 1-0, drawing 1-1 against Ngezi Platinum Stars and losing 2-1 to Whawha.

Save for the uninspiring display in the 1-0 victory against Bulawayo City, all the other shows that Bosso exhibited were entertaining and are the reason why their fans have started having reason to believe that happy days are close.

Bosso are sixth on the Premiership standings with 33 points from 22 games, 14 points adrift of leaders FC Platinum.

Even their players have belief that they can move up the ladder, eyeing a top three finish that might appear crazy but it's achievable. Hope has been replaced with expectation.

The top three sides at present are leaders FC Platinum, Chicken Inn on 41 points and Dynamos who have amassed 39 points.

Other teams above Highlanders are fourth-placed Manica Diamonds and Triangle United, both tied on 34 points.
Bosso, who play host to Tenax CS FC tomorrow at Barbourfields Stadium may leapfrog Manica Diamonds and Triangle United should the two lose their respective games to Yadah and Ngezi.

Highlanders midfielder Adrian Silla, who recently extended his contract to the end of 2025, says they are not worried about how other teams play.

"Fortune is slowly turning to our side and if we can continue playing like we're doing, giving the entertainment that our fans expect, we believe we can do better. Actually, as players we have set a realistic target of a top three finish. It's possible and we will work on it," said Silla.

It might appear to be too ambitious for Highlanders but Brito has infused self-belief in his players.

While chasing the top three, Brito has won himself admiration from the Bosso faithful, eliminating a shadow of doubt in his capabilities from the hard-to-please Highlanders fans and doubters as he embarks on a systematic overhaul of the squad.

Besides the passing game that is synonymous with Highlanders' play that fans love, Brito is aiding Bosso's philosophy – recruiting youngsters from the development side. Highlanders whose last championship was in 2006 enjoyed yesteryear success when they promoted players from their junior ranks.

Against Manica Diamonds, Brito unleashed 16-year-old midfielder Prince Ndlovu, a pupil at Mzilikazi High School and the young lad mesmerised the fans with sublime skills.

Ndlovu was promoted to the first team from the club's Under-17 side during the mid-year transfer window which opened on July 1 and closes tomorrow.

Bosso discarded Joel Ngodzo during the midseason window.

On Thursday, Highlanders announced that three players from their developmental side Bosso 90 have been elevated to the senior team. The young players that Brito has brought up are striker Darlington Msendami (22) who was on loan at Zifa Central Region Division One Soccer League side Vubachikwe, 20-year-old pair of defender Nigel Ncube and central midfielder Mason Mushore.

Bosso have outsourced 19-year-old striker Jayden Bakare who has banged eight goals for Whawha.

There are a number of players born after 2000 in the team who will be given opportunities to play by Brito as he lays a foundation for next season.

Some of the youngsters in Highlanders' senior team who are expected to feature prominently in the remaining matches include striker Mthabisi Mabobo Ncube (18), goalkeeper Raphael Pitisi who turns 20 in October, defender Andrew Mbeba (22) and midfield genius Divine Mhindirira (22).

Defensive midfielder Darlington Mukuli (22), promoted into the senior team in March this year alongside Archiford Faira (21), both products of Bosso 90, was given a start against Bulawayo City and gave a good account of himself.

What further pleases Highlanders members is that Brito said he intends to recruit from the developmental side before searching outside Bosso if need be.

"Instead of going outside, if we have quality inside, the first step is inside. First, if we find players close to us that's the best before going outside," Brito said.

Shamiso Ncube, a Bosso member said: "All along we've been clamouring to see home-grown talent from within our ranks and Brito is giving the young lads a chance. We're tired of recycling and I think as supporters, it is good that finally we've got a coach who wants to save the club by taking from the development sides."

Precious Mathema believes glory days are back and the foundation that Brito is laying will yield results in future.

"If you look at the years when the club enjoyed success, it was when they promoted from within and beefed up with a few players from other teams. It's important to have players who understand the culture and the system of Highlanders because they will serve wholeheartedly. What we need to do now is to back up Brito, support the boys and make sure that they settle with ease," Mathema said.

Ndodana Sihwa said: "Now that we're out of the championship race, building for the future is important and Brito seems to understand that. It takes a brave coach to promote and play youngsters. We've seen in a short period Brito throwing in Darlington Mukuli, Muziwakhe Dhlamini, reinventing Godfrey Makaruse, moving Mbongeni Ndlovu to central defence and if you follow well, you can see that there's progress and you get to appreciate what the coach really wants to do.

"It is better losing with youngsters playing than losing with old players who at the end of the season will be on the move."

What remains to be seen is whether the team that Brito is assembling will resemble the 1986 squad that swept almost everything on offer. That squad had been built from the famed Highlanders FC's Under-16 squad that was popularly known as Liverpool, the 1981 Castle Cup tournament winners after beating Mhangura 3-2 at Rufaro Stadium in Harare.

The 1986 squad was a fusion of experienced and young players that included goalkeeper, captain Peter Oxo Nkomo, Fanuel Ncube, the late Mercedes Rambo Sibanda, Dumisani Savimbi Nyoni, Netsai Super Moyo, Alexander ‘Cool Ruler' Maseko and Douglas ‘Chimsoro' Mloyi, the late Willard Khumalo, legendary winger Madinda Ndlovu, Titus Majola, Tani Banda and Tobias Mudyambanje.

In 1997, as a coach Madinda Ndlovu assembled a squad that went on to win four championships in a row starting with the 1998/99 title. That squad had among others Thulani Biya Ncube, Zenzo Moyo, Gift Lunga (junior), Melusi Sibanda, Sizabantu Khoza, Thabani Masawi, Dazzy Kapenya and Bekithemba Ndlovu.

The last Highlanders squad to win the championship in 2006 had eccentric goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini, the trio of striker Obadiah Tarumbwa, midfielder Honour Gombami and utility player Vusa Nyoni and Ralph Matema who sought greener pastures at the end of that season.

Former national team defender Gilbert ‘Vava' Banda stood in the heart of defence, Danisa Phiri, Master Masiku, Farai Mujokoro, Mgcini Mhlophe, Kenny ‘Dokoza' Msimanga, Brighton Dube, Brighton Choto, nomadic Marshal Machazane, Johannes Ngodzo, his brother Zephaniah and Zenzo Moyo were part of the last team to win the title for Bosso.

Most of this squad's players were from the club's juniors.

Source - The Chronicle

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