Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS’ coach Erol Akbay believes their loss to Zambian outfit Power Dynamos in a friendly at Luveve Stadium on Tuesday was a good reality check for his team ahead of the start of what promises to be a gruelling 2017 PSL season.
Two goals by Lyson Sikaonga, a new signing from Division One Zone Two side Roan United, condemned Bosso to a 2-1 defeat despite an earlier equaliser from second half substitute Allan Gahadzikwa.
Had Bosso done some pre-match research about Power Dynamos, they would have known how deadly Sikaonga is in front of goal, as he was the 2016 Division One top scorer with 26 goals.
However, Akbay said the loss gave them pointers on which areas to work on as they continue to fine tune their squad.
“It’s good that we lost well before the start of the season as it gives us time to work on our weaknesses. As you saw, we started the first half badly, but upon changing our system from 4-3-3 to a diamond 4-4-2 in the second half, our game improved,” said Akbay.
He expressed disappointment with his defence that had Honest Moyo on the left, young Bukhosi Ncube on the right and the central defensive pair of Peter Muduhwa and Benson Phiri. Muduhwa was replaced by skipper Erick Mudzingwa after sustaining a knee injury, while Phiri was also hauled out for Tendai Ndlovu.
“Our defenders were not marking and gave away the ball quite easily and I am not happy about that. They made too many mistakes which is not acceptable and I don’t know how they did that,” said the Dutchman.
Highlanders are likely to adopt a 4-3-3 formation this year as the technical bench tries to accommodate more attack minded players in their line-up, but the players seemed to struggle to adapt to the new system.
“Since our return from South Africa, we have not trained on a full pitch due to the rains and I think that somehow had an effect on our performance today. We have more strikers now which we need to accommodate and I think the team just has to adapt to the new formation. I hope the rains stop now so that we have proper training sessions,” Akbay said.
On Tuesday, Bosso used new boy Rodrick Mutuma, Prince Dube and speedster Gabriel Nyoni as their offensive frontmen, but the trio didn’t get good service from the midfield where Simon Munawa and veteran Tendai Ngulube struggled to hold fort. It was the ingenuity of Rahman Kutsanzira that prevented total control of the midfield by the Zambians.
Dube was also guilty of selfishness by not partnering well with Mutuma, who would constantly run into open spaces, but the youngster would choose to spread long passes across the field.
This happened a lot in the first half and the technical team will have to address this if Bosso are to form a potent front line.