Highlanders Football Club on Sunday resurrected its title chances in the Zimbabwe Castle Lager Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Chapungu at Ascot Stadium.
By Tongai Mwenje
The win enabled Bosso to join FC Platinum to breathe heavily on the neck of current log leaders, Caps United, as the competition looks to head for a possible photo-finish.
Bosso’s dominant performance — their 6th win in their last six games — kept them at the third position behind Caps United and FC Platinum, with the top three clubs separated by 3 points.
The current scenario has put much pressure on the three teams, with intense debate coming from social media platforms on who will lift the 2017 local league Cup. Being a member of various sport groups, including our own, i had a chance to go through some of these opinions from various fans with different support base.
Most fans are tipping Caps United to end eleven-year hoodoo to lift the Zimbabwe Castle Lager Premier League title, while some are betting their last coins on FC Platinum and Highlanders. FC Platinum’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title ambitions suffered a dent after they were stunned by Harare City over the weekend while Highlanders activated its title mode by seizing a slender win at Ascot.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions isn’t it, yes, it’s an expression of freedom of speech and association. But who said predictions and self opinions are wrong or right, no one, but only judged by the outcome.
Personally, i see the Bulawayo giants ending their ten year drought. Yes, you heard me, Highlanders 2017 Champions, according to me. Here is why i think so;
1. Mental Strength and Confident Coach
I am sure everyone agrees with me that Erol Akbay is a very brave and confident coach who have managed to turn Highlanders into a title contender it used to be. Few days ago, he was quoted in the private media confidently saying his charges can overturn Caps United’s lead in the remaining four matches. Mental strength win matches and the Dutchman has it. Mental strength is one of the toughest but most important attribute a successful coach should have.
This a public secret, Highlanders is uncontestedly one of the in form teams at the moment. The Bulawayo-based club have now won six games in a row, and although not getting overly carried away, i am quietly confident that Akbay’s side will have a good crack at the title.
3. Winnable Remaining Matches
Unlike the other two title contenders, Caps United and FC Platinum, Bosso’s last three home and one away matches are winnable. I foresee the Akbay men grabbing at least 10 points from those four remaining matches lifting the league title with 60 points. Bosso’s last four matches are against Bulawayo City (home), Tsholotsho (home), FC Platinum (away) and Hwange (home).
4. Tricky Encounters for Caps United and FC Platinum
Caps United storm to the top on Sunday after dismissing Border Strikers by 3 goals to 1, opening a two-point gap between them and FC Platinum. The Harare giants have a big task ahead of them on Sunday against arch rivals Dynamos, the match is regarded as the title decider for the Green Machine. Dynamos are lying on position five and obviously for the purposes of preserving the brand ‘DYNAMOS’ they would want to finish strong and beating their sworn in rivals would be one of those preservative measures. It’s not going to be a walk in the park for the Green Machine. I predict a one all draw, worse without their talisman Leonard Tsipa.
After the Harare derby, Caps would need to prove their title credentials against ‘title king markers’ Harare City. The Moses Chunga led team dented FC Platinum’s title hopes over the weekend and who knows Caps might be the next victim when the two teams meet. The last two matches are against Ngezi Platinum and Chapungu at home and away respectively. Apparently, Ngezi Platinum is no longer a pusher over, with a Chibuku Super Cup semi-finalist spot, the Ndiraya led team will give Caps a good run for their money. Ascot stadium has always been a hunting ground for the airmen, a draw will be a good result for Makepekepe. I predict at most six points for Caps United in their last four games and will finish the league on position 2 with 59 points.
FC Platinum’s last four games are against Ngezi Platinum, Chapungu, Highlanders and Tsholotsho. At face value, these are the most difficult games for a title contender. The hardest of them all are against Highlanders and Tsholotsho who are fighting for the league title and against relegation respectively. Five points for FC Platinum in their last four matches, finish on position 3 with 56 points.
I personally think with the above stated facts, Bosso’s chances are as good as those of CAPS United and FC Platinum. Anyone who drops points at this stage will definitely be out of the race and i don’t see that happening with Akbay’s men.