Sikhumbuzo Moyo and Allen Khumalo, Sports Reporters
HIGHLANDERS could unleash their foreign trio of Manuel Obiang Esono Buale of Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Tambwe Kalunga and Yves Ebabali when they take on struggling Chapungu at Ascot Stadium this weekend.
The trio has not been part of the Bosso line-up this season, as they were still awaiting clearance papers, which the club hopes to get today or tomorrow.
Coach Erol Akbay says he is ready to unleash his foreign legion.
“Yes, the three players are now ready to play,” said Akbay.
Highlanders’ secretary-general Emmett Ndlovu said they are working flat out to have the players’ papers ready in time for the weekend’s away game and before the blockbuster home match against Dynamos in Week 8.
“We will push for the licences to be available before the weekend game,” said Ndlovu, who is also the club’s acting chief executive officer.
While Akbay says the three players are ready to play, it certainly won’t be an automatic entry into the squad for any of them, as the Bulawayo giants have been holding their own so far despite the struggling midfield department.
Bosso top the league table with 12 points after collecting nine points inside seven days in their quest for a first league title in 11 years.
Buale and Kalunga are strikers, while journeyman Yves Ebabali is an attacking winger armed with dribbling talent.
Paired in the same line-up with another in-form winger Rahman Kutsanzira, Highlanders could be the real team to beat this season.
Meanwhile, Akbay has also made it clear that no player is guaranteed a jersey in his team and they can only earn a berth through good performances and hard work.
“Nothing is automatic in our team. You have to prove yourself to be in the starting XI or in the 18-man squad. If you get a red card, get injured or are out of the team for any other reason, you have to fight for your position,” said Akbay.
Captain Erick Mudzingwa was sent off for a second bookable offence in their defeat to Shabanie and Tendai Ndlovu has been filling that position.
“Only when I’m not happy with a certain position will I make some changes, but for now I’m satisfied with all positions. Tendai is doing well in his position that’s why I have no reason to change anything. I will do so when necessary, but for now I’m not making any changes in the team,” Akbay said.
He also said he was impressed by the combination of strikers Rodrick Mutuma and Prince Dube for keeping opponents’ defences on their toes.
“I’m very happy for Rodrick and what’s more important is that the pressure is off that boy.
“We can focus on the coming games and hope that everybody scores more goals.
“For me, it’s not important who scores and who doesn’t, what’s important is that the whole team is winning and not losing.
“Even if Prince, Simon or Rahman score, I don’t really care as long as we are winning. The strikers have been combining well and because of him (Mutuma), we have scored a lot of goals and Prince has scored two or three goals through his assists.
“If you can give me assists than scoring goals it’s enough. That’s why I was happy when he scored against Tsholotsho, which I believe has eased pressure off him,” Akbay said.