Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS coach Erol Akbay says the injury to young forward Prince Dube has had a huge impact on his game plan ahead of the big clash against traditional rivals Dynamos at Barbourfields on Sunday. Dube has been ruled out of the big game after picking an injury in their last match which ended goalless at Chapungu on Saturday. The Zimbabwe youth international is expected to be out for five weeks with a pulled muscle.
Akbay told The Herald his attack has revolved around Dube who has struck a good understanding with Rodreck Mutuma. Dube is currently the club’s leading scorer with three goals after six games.
“Of course, we do not have to cry that much over one player ,but his injury, obviously was a big blow to us. Prince has a very unique way of playing his football and we will definitely miss that.
“Now it means I have to change our type of play in his absence. We really needed him for this game,” said Akbay.
Dube’s injury should have come as sweet news to the Harare giants who were at the receiving end of his exploits last year when he played a starring role that ended Bosso’s 10 year jinx.
The Zimbabwe youth international scored one and then set up another for Bruce Kangwa as Highlanders beat Dynamos in a league match for the first time since 2006.
In fact, it turned out to be an incredible year for the Bulawayo giants who went on to win the reverse fixture 2-1 at Barbourfields to complete a rare back-to-back dominance over their biggest rivals.
That victory in Bulawayo sparked one of the biggest football parties ever held in the City of Kings as the Bosso fans saluted their team’s achievement.
Others, however, blame that for deflecting the team’s focus as CAPS United stormed back to win the league championship.
Bosso have the bragging rights and a psychological edge ahead of Sunday’s clash which also puts them back in contention for the control of the championship.
Bosso are currently second in the race after six games while DeMbare are further down the table on seven points. Akbay, however, has refused to be carried away.
He knows the harm Dynamos are capable of inflicting, especially after watching his charges lose the Independence Cup final at the hands of the Glamour Boys, at the National Sports Stadium last month.
The Dutch coach has been working hard on combinations and with Dube out, the door could open for veteran Ralph Matema who has been starting from the bench of late.
Or he may consider partnering Mutuma with Gabriel Nyoni or new signing Yves Ebabali who is yet to make a start.
Interestingly, the DeMbare coaches rejected the Congolese forward.
“It’s always a very big match whenever Dynamos and Highlanders meet. It’s not an easy game, but we are ready for them,’’ said Akbay.
“The boys are excited and we will do everything to make sure that we win. But with Dynamos you never really know what to expect on the day.
“They have a good attacking flair and that is why we have to focus on making sure that they don’t score this weekend.’’
Tomorrow: How Mine v FC Platinum (Barbourfields, 1:00pm), Bulawayo City v Black Rhinos (Barbourfields, 3:00pm), ZPC Kariba v Tsholotsho (Nyamhunga), Yadah v Chicken Inn (NSS),
Sunday: Hwange v Triangle United (Colliery), Shabanie Mine v Chapungu (Maglas), Harare City v Ngezi Platinum (Morris Depot), Highlanders v Dynamos (Barbourfields),
*CAPS United v Bantu Rovers (Postponed)