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Bosso title hopes fade

by Staff reporter
04 May 2022 at 07:01hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS have to find a way to quickly turnaround their fortunes to save a faltering season seemingly on a downward spiral.

Highlanders, who last won the league title in 2006, slipped two places down the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table into 12th place after a 1-1 derby draw with Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

Bosso have amassed 15 points, almost half of what their nemesis and championship pacesetters Dynamos have collected.

DeMbare top the league table with 29 points from 13 games.

Highlanders' head coach Mandla Mpofu's emphasis to secure maximum points against big sides, which include FC Platinum and Chicken Inn, to effectively compete for the championship has borne no fruits.

Bosso have actually struggled to beat teams above them on the table, and surrendered a 1-0 lead to draw with Chicken Inn.

They also let a 1-0 lead slip away in their ill-fated game against FC Platinum which was eventually abandoned when the Zvishavane-based side was awarded a controversial penalty, with the score line at 1-1.

Bosso fought from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Caps United, drew 0-0 with third-placed Triangle United, lost 1-0 to fourth-placed Manica Diamonds, played to a goalless draw with Ngezi Platinum Stars, who are fifth, lost 2-0 to sixth-placed Black Rhinos and drew 2-2 against Cranborne Bullets.

Seventh-placed Herentals are the only side above them they beat, registering an emphatic 4-0 win.

Highlanders' other victories were against second from the bottom Whawha and Yadah, who occupy the last relegation slot in 15th place.

The points amassed by Highlanders after 13 games equal what they had in 2019 when they went on to finish the season in sixth with 46 points, while title winners FC Platinum ended with 62 points.

By this time in 2019, Highlanders were in 14th place, having conceded 10 goals and scored seven.

Amid their poor run, Bosso have managed to score 13 times and conceded two goals less than they did in 2019.

In 2018, Highlanders had their best start in 13 games; picking up 25 points from seven wins, four draws and two defeats. They averaged more than a goal per game, scoring 14 goals and conceding seven times.

Highlanders had amassed 21 points from six wins, three draws and four defeats in 2017. They scored 13 and conceded 13 goals and finished sixth with 47 points, 25 points adrift of winners FC Platinum.

But with 21 games left this year, how many points can Highlanders bag from the possible 63 at stake?

To get their campaign back on track, Highlanders will need to collect as many points as they can, even from teams above them, and hope other clubs do them favours by dropping points.

They must start picking up maximum points outside Bulawayo, as they have been poor travellers.

Bosso have gone for 28 league games without a win outside Bulawayo. Their last win outside Bulawayo was the 1-0 over Triangle United at Gibbo Stadium on July 22, 2018.

This season they've played six matches outside Bulawayo and lost twice to Black Rhinos and Manica Diamonds, and drew three times. This means from a possible 18 points, they just managed three, a poor record for any serious team vying for the championship. Bosso are awaiting the PSL to determine the fate of their abandoned match against FC Platinum which is likely to be awarded to the platinum miners on a 3-0 score line.

Highlanders have also been singing about turning Barbourfields into a fortress, but they've struggled, collecting 12 points from three wins, three draws and a defeat to Bulawayo City.

As things stand, Highlanders are no longer in control of their title destiny and only a miracle can get them dreaming about challenging for the league title again.

Source - The Chronicle
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