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Bosso's Akbay taunts Dembare

by Eddie Chikamhi
19 Jul 2016 at 05:25hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS coach Erol Akbay has stoked the flames in the Premiership and yesterday boldly ruled out bitter rivals Dynamos from the championship race, arguing that it will be a three-horse battle involving FC Platinum, CAPS United and his club.

The Dutchman, in his assessment of the first half of the season reckoned that it will be any of the top three teams at the time of the break who have a realistic chance of grabbing the ultimate prize.

Akbay who arrived in the country at the start of the year and has quickly settled at Bosso predicted that the title race would be fiercely contested for by CAPS United, FC Platinum and the Bulawayo giants.

The Dutch mentor also believes his side is now well geared for the long haul after the Bulawayo giants shot back into pole position into the mid-season break, which started on Sunday.

Bosso beat CAPS United 1-0 at Barbourfields to amass 30 points from 14 games. They have the same number of points as second-placed FC Platinum, but the Bulawayo giants are enjoying superior goal difference.

CAPS United are third and a point behind, but both Highlanders and FC Platinum have a game in hand.

Dynamos, who for the second successive game fired blanks after a nil all draw with ZPC Kariba at Rufaro, remained fourth on the log standings with 25 points.

Akbay said he was anticipating bruising contests when the second half of the season resumes although he feels Bosso will be better prepared in their quest to end a 10-year barren spell.

Highlanders last won the championship in 2006 under the guidance of Methembe Ndlovu.

"I think FC Platinum and CAPS United are the best teams that we have played this year. They really have good teams. Chicken Inn and Triangle also have some good players.

"As you know this is my first time coaching in Zimbabwe. So I knew a little about our opponents, but now that we have played them all it could be an advantage for tactical reasons in the second half of the season.

"It looks there will be stiff competition, but the championship race this year could involve CAPS United, FC Platinum and probably us.

"It would mean we don't have to lose too many points in the remaining games," said Akbay.

Bosso have won nine games, lost two and drawn three. However, they will not enjoy the mid-season break as they have been scheduled to play Harare City in the finals of the ZNA Charities at Barbourfields this Sunday.

Then the following Wednesday they will host Triangle at the same venue for a rescheduled fixture to catch up with the rest of the teams who have played one game more.

Akbay bemoaned the lack of rest which he fears could come back to haunt his team later in the race.

"Essentially there is no break there. It could be an advantage now because we have the momentum, but later fatigue will catch up with us. Players need some time to refresh because the season is long," said Akbay.

While Akbay may have written DeMbare from the title race, Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa said he is still anticipating better fortunes when the games resume for the second round.

Dynamos started badly under controversial coach Paulo Silva, but they have not lost a match in their last seven outings and that improved run has given their faithful hopes that DeMbare could launch a late charge for the championship they last won under Callisto Pasuwa two years ago.

Mutasa also seemed to back Akbay's assertion in an earlier interview in which he noted that his team would have to depend on the results that the leading trio of Bosso, FC Platinum and CAPS United would be posting.

"In a way when you are getting consistency you wouldn't want to have a weekend without matches, but such is the fixture and we have to adhere to it and try to adjust.

"But like I said before, CAPS United, Highlanders and FC Platinum are doing well of late and the destiny of the championship is not in our hands. What we have to do as Dynamos is try to collect as much points as we can and then probably at the end of the year we would see where those points take us," said Mutasa.

"I think we really had a slow start and we are playing a catch up game. We are still trying to come up, we are trying to solidify our team and I am sure by the time we come back we will be okay for the second round," said Mutasa.

Their opponents in the last match, ZPC Kariba, are also looking for fresh inspiration after going for five games without a win and even a goal to show for their efforts.

Their coach Sunday Chidzambwa should be very depressed that the side had not scored a goal in over 450 minutes of play.

"I think we have to work hard in the attacking third, creation of scoring chances," said Chidzambwa.

"Compared to where we were last season, I am quite happy. We have to pull our socks in the last 15 games in order to achieve a respectable position," Chidzambwa said

 

Fixtures

Saturday: Chicken Inn v FC Platinum (Luveve)

Wednesday July 27: Highlanders v Triangle United (Barbourfields), Tsholotsho v Mutare City Rovers (Luveve)

Source - chronicle