By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Highlanders vice captain and a key member of the squad, Gabriel Nyoni, has attributed his team’s slump in form that has seen them win just a single game out of eight matches to burn out.
Nyoni, who has been a revelation under head coach Madinda Ndlovu this season, said a number of players who were fringe packages before the arrival of the legendary Ndlovu suddenly found themselves playing week in and week out, with a lot of expectations from the supporters.
“I think the coming off of the wheels was largely to do with burn out from most of the guys in the team. Remember a majority were not on a regular game basis, hence they could have been affected negatively,” said Nyoni at the club’s weekly press conference yesterday.
The speedy Nyoni refused to totally blame the slump on reports that some players were allegedly indulging in substance abuse.
“That (taking illegal substances) cannot be an issue because in the early part of the season, we were playing well and winning games and now just because results are not coming we then want to attribute it to drug abuse, no. It is known that regardless of the situation, taking illegal substances in sports is not allowed and must not be condoned,” said Nyoni.
He said in his role as vice-captain, he sometimes spoke to the players on a one-on-one basis to try and find out what could be the problem, especially when the player would not have performed to expectations.
He said many factors could be at play, hence the need to unlock the major reason for the below par performances.
“I have one-on-one discussions to try and find out if a teammate could be having a social problem or something. It’s important that we do that, especially with these up-and-coming youngsters,” said Nyoni.
Head coach, Ndlovu, said they were equally worried that the team had not been playing well, especially in the second half of the season, but quickly reiterated that they were still on course with their project.
“We played well in the first half, but we have achieved little in the second half,” said Ndlovu. The Chronicle.