OZIAS Zibande was never given enough game time at Highlanders last season.
In 2012, when he broke into the first team, he made four starts and came in as a substitute six times, banging in five goals, the same number as Graham Ncube who played 26 times.
Last year, he played in two matches for the whole season and did not score a goal.
This year, Zibande has made four appearances and his stock is on the rise as he now has three goals in his bag, scoring one in the 3-0 routing of Chiredzi at Chishamiso Stadium, getting the first in the 1-1 draw against Chicken Inn and another in the 4-0 demolition of Caps United at Barbourfields (BF) Stadium on Sunday.
Zibande didn’t feature in the first two matches against Chapungu (away) and Shabanie at home only coming in the 84th minute in the 1-1 draw against Hwange at BF.
From the look of things, what the Highlanders striker really needs at the Bulawayo giants is game time to prove his worth, one coach and a football administrator who watched Sunday’s game said.
“When a boy breaks and matures for the first team, the only thing that will be lacking in him is experience and he can only get that by playing. If he had been given more starts last year, he could be somewhere now. The young man has a way of doing things. I don’t know how he does it, but every time when Highlanders is attacking he will be unmarked. He is definitely Highlanders player for the future,” the football administrator said.
Other goals on Sunday came from Rahman Kutsanzira, Kudakwashe Mahachi and substitute Cleopas “Balotelli” Dube. The win took Bosso back to pole position on 12 points as they prepare for in-form new boys ZPC Kariba, on the second spot with 12 points.
Both sides are yet to lose a match.
Highlanders played one of their best games in many years and the football administrator, who preferred not to be identified, made a close analysis of Sunday’s game.
“The injury to Mthulisi (Maphosa) is a blessing in disguise and should give the coaches the heads up, added with the absence of Milton (Ncube) who was also injured. Rio (Peter Moyo) was not part of the team and Highlanders had Welcome (Ndiweni), Charles Sibanda and (Erick) Mudzingwa who do not play to the crowd.
“The central midfield was different and played with a purpose rather than Mthulisi and Rio who will start doing other things. Their absence made Charlie (Charles Sibanda) play in the position that he is used to and it worked out for Highlanders,” the coach said.
When Sibanda was replaced four minutes before full time, all hell almost broke loose in the centre where Khumbulani Banda had also been introduced for Kutsanzira, with Caps United almost regaining their confidence, but time had run out for the Green Machine.
With assistant coach Mark Mathe in charge in the absence of boss Kelvin Kaindu, Highlanders played the more aggressive game with Kutsanzira and Mahachi on the wings and quick on chase backs to limit Caps United midfield.
Bosso were, however, suspect in defence where right-back Simon Munawa overlapped and exposed the central defence, which forced goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda to come off his line, the same mistake that occurred forcing Munyaradzi Diya to leave the goal area and slip while trying to make a clearance against Chicken Inn in the 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Mathe said Sunday’s performance was a big improvement after the draw to Chicken Inn and Hwange at BF.
“It was a big improvement against the backdrop of the two draws at BF. I just told the boys to go in there and convert the chances and kill off the game. Our wing play was superb today (Sunday) and Welcome (Ndiweni) came to the party,” Mathe added.