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Bosso's Akbay cautious ahead of Dembare tie

by Eddie Chikamhi
08 Sep 2016 at 06:30hrs | Views
DUTCHMAN Erol Akbay is not sure of what to expect when giants Highlanders and Dynamos cross swords in the return leg of The Battle of Zimbabwe at Barbourfields on Sunday. With the way the traditional giants have fared this year, the big question will obviously be what else will be at the stake besides the usual bragging rights?

Bosso enjoy a psychological edge after they ended a 10-year jinx earlier this year with a 2-0 victory over DeMbare at Rufaro and will be looking to complete a double.

Akbay, however, sounded cautious. With the way both teams have fallen behind, it looks like they need much in terms of motivation in the championship race.

Highlanders are currently sitting third with 38 points, six behind log leaders FC Platinum with eight games remaining. But they have better chances in the marathon compared to their Harare rivals who have 35 points and are fifth.

This time last year, Highlanders had 25 points and were 10th while Dynamos were second on 38 points, three behind eventual champions Chicken Inn. However, Akbay yesterday said they are investing their energies in preparation for the big game.

"Right now we are focusing on Sunday's game. The players are excited and, as a coach, normally you end up not having to do much to motivate these guys because they are all looking forward to this game.

"There is no doubt it's a big game. Everyone, including the supporters, is expectant and we are likely to get a capacity crowd at Barbourfields," said Akbay.

Highlanders, who had last beaten Dynamos in 2006, won the first leg 2-0 at Rufaro courtesy of goals from Bruce Kangwa and rookie forward Prince Dube. But Kangwa will not be involved this time as he has since moved to Tanzania.

Akbay said he was mindful of DeMbare's desire to revenge and refused to read much into their inconsistent performances this season.

"Dynamos are a dangerous team. You cannot really be certain of what to expect from them. Just like us they have been winning some games and losing some.

"But in this type of game, you can talk of tactics and everything but at the end of the day it's the team that demonstrates the biggest desire that wins the game.

"We want the points. There are only eight games remaining in the season and obviously we have to finish strongly. So to us every game will be like a cup final," said Akbay.

The Bulawayo giants were still assessing their players Benson Phiri, Tendai Ngulube and Bukhosi Ncube who are carrying knocks. Bosso are looking to build on their momentum after winning the last two matches against How Mine and Border Strikers.

DeMbare however, have been experiencing mixed fortunes with a draw against Ngezi Platinum and then beating Chapungu 1-0 at Rufaro in their last game.

Despite trailing log leaders FC Platinum by nine points, Dynamos have remained adamant in their quest for this year's championship.

But while the traditional rivals will be cancelling out each other at Barbourfields, log leaders FC Platinum have a date with Kelvin Kaindu's struggling How Mine at Mandava on Saturday.

CAPS United, who recently slashed FC Platinum's lead to just one point on the log standings, will host Chicken Inn at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday while third-placed ZPC Kariba travel to Hwange.

 

Fixtures:

Today:
Chicken Inn v Hwange (Luveve)

Tomorrow
Chapungu v Harare City (Ascot)

Saturday
Ngezi Platinum v Bulawayo City (Baobab), Tsholotsho v Border Strikers (Luveve), FC Platinum v How Mine (Mandava)

Sunday
CAPS United v Chicken Inn (NSS), Hwange v ZPC Kariba (Colliery), Mutare City v Triangle (Sakubva), Highlanders v Dynamos (Barbourfields).

Source - the herald