HIGHLANDERS coach Kelvin Kaindu has conceded that the first half of the 2013 Castle Lager Premiership season has been tougher compared to last year, following the Bulawayo giants’ two defeats in a row at the hands of city neighbours Chicken Inn and Caps United.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE
Kaindu appeared unfazed by the two defeats at the close of the first half of the season, indicating that what was important was that Bosso had ended the period in a good position.
“It has been quite tough compared to last season and the results that were coming out were not expected. Any other side can beat any team this year, but what is important is that we are in a good position,” Kaindu said.
The Zambian national said his winning formula had not changed, saying a team cannot win all games.
“We are not losing our winning formula. I know people want us to win all the games, but we have finished in a good position,” Kaindu said.
Highlanders lost their fourth game of the season and their first away match 2-1 to Caps United after a 0-1 home defeat to Chicken Inn. They have nine wins and two draws, leading the pack with 29 points. Their other two losses were inflicted by new boys How Mine and struggling Motor Action.
At the same time last year, Bosso had not lost any game, having won nine times with six draws and accumulating 33 points. Draws undid their championship campaign, ceding the title to Harare giants Dynamos by goal difference.
Of late, Kaindu has been lamenting lack of killer punch upfront, but saying it was difficult for him to say if Bosso could be going into the market for strikers if the transfer window opens on July 1.
“It is always difficult judging by the financial position of the club, but we will go for whatever is available according to the club’s financial position,” Kaindu said.
But it is last year’s acquisition Masimba Mambare and Milton Ncube who have been scoring of late. Bosso are yet to find an out-and-out gunman.
On the other hand Chicken Inn, now at par with Bosso on 29 points and on position two, have made a marked improvement this first half of the season compared to last year’s 26 points and position four from 15 matches.
Head coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu is happy.
“We have done ourselves good in the first half and the boys have shown a lot of character, especially after we had gone on a bad patch. They have behaved professionally and showed a lot of confidence. There were times when things were not good enough. We will keep on working hard going into the second half,” Mpofu said.
Like Bosso, Chicken Inn have won nine matches drawn two and lost four while at game 15 last year they had won seven, drawn five and lost three.
Mpofu said he did not see Chicken Inn going into the market.
“Our objective is a top-four finish. I think we have a healthy squad and we can pull through,” he said.
Going into the second half last year FC Platinum, who were runners-up to Dynamos in their maiden season in 2011, were in position six and this year, they are in position five and they are looking at Warriors assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa changing their fortunes after the departure of Zambian Tenant Chilumba.
Champions Dynamos are chasing on position three with 28 points after thumping How Mine 3-0 at Rufaro on Sunday.
The team that is on the half way mark on position eight, Buffaloes are 10 points behind Bosso.
After a good start to the season, new boys How Mine have gone on a slump.
Hwange, who narrowly survived relegation last season, disturbed Harare City with a 4-1 hiding at the Colliery on Sunday, but sit on position 10 after winning only four times and playing five draws.
Tripple B, the most travelled team in the Premiership, probably affected by player fatigue during their matches, have found a new vein of form beating Buffaloes 4-2 at home in Beitbridge after a draw with Black Rhinos and another 1-0 home win against Motor Action.
Saturday: Caps United 2-1 Highlanders, Tripple B 4-2 Buffaloes, FC Platinum 1-0 Black Rhinos 0
Sunday: Hwange 4-1 Harare City, Shabanie 1-2 Chicken Inn, Triangle 1-0 Black Mambas, Dynamos 3-0 How Mine