Highlanders coach Erol Akbay appeared to taunt under-performing city rivals Chicken Inn ahead of the two sides’ clash at Barbourfields Stadium today after suggesting that the reigning champions were now a pale shadow of the side that won last season’s championship.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The Dutchman, who has led Bosso to an impressive start to the season, says the GameCocks are no longer the force they were last season and he expects his side to collect maximum points from the inconsistent champions.
“Every game that we play now is very difficult. When every team plays against us they are super good. We have to remain focused so that we win every game. Chicken Inn are the champions and a very difficult team to beat, but in the last few weeks this year they have not been doing very well. I don’t know why. Actually I don’t care why. The only thing I want is to win against them,” Akbay told journalists at a Highlanders’ Press conference.
The title-chasing Bulawayo giants, who are perched at the top of the log table with 26 points from 11 matches, go into tomorrow’s match without Knox Mutizwa, who left the country yesterday for new side Bidvest Wits.
But it’s Chicken Inn who seem to be more depleted having lost strikers Edmore Chirambadare and Michelle Katsvairo to South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs, while key defenders Divine Lunga and Lawrence Mhlanga are serving suspensions.
Lunga has accumulated three yellow cards while Mhlanga was shown a red card in a game against Tsholotsho and is serving his last suspension today.
Meanwhile, Harare giants CAPS United will be hoping to continue their solid start to the season with a positive result against Hwange despite being hit by absences and suspensions of key players ahead of the game at Rufaro Stadium today.
The Green Machine, who are unbeaten in their last five games, will be without four players due to a combination of suspensions and injuries to key players.
Defender Ronald Pfumbidzayi and midfielder Kudzi Nyamupfukudza will be unavailable as they are serving a one game suspension after accumulating three yellow cards, while striker Leonard Tsipa is injured.
CAPS will also miss the services of inform midfielder Abbas Amidu, who has been invited for a one-week trial stint with a Germany team.
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is not pressing the panic button and inisisted during his team’s weekly Press conference last week that he had enough replacements.
“The absence of some of our players will affect the team slightly, not much. The players are very important to the team but I feel the club is more important than the individuals,” Chitembwe said.
Yesterday’s results at a glance: How Mine 1-2 Ngezi Platinum Stars, ZPC Kariba 0-0 Chapungu, Bulawayo City 0-1 Dynamos
Today’s Fixtures: Chicken Inn v Highlanders (Barbourfields), Boarder Strikers v Harare City (Dulibadzimu Stadium), Triangle v Tsholotsho (Gibbo Stadium), Mutare City v FC Platinum (Sakubva Stadium), CAPS United v Hwange (Rufaro Stadium)