By Ricky Zililo
Ball possession dominance, creation of scoring chances which they fluff; this is the sad tale of Highlanders as they continue to write their own piece of wrong history, going eight league games without a win.
The country’s oldest football club remains the only side yet to collect maximum points in eight games and occupy the second spot from the bottom of the league table and is now a laughing stock in domestic football.
What is clear is that Highlanders are sinking and something has to give within the Bosso family sooner rather than later, as yesterday Herentals frustrated the drowning giants.
The result and failure by his team to win left Highlanders’ head coach Madinda Ndlovu dumbfounded.
“All the ingredients of football are put together and at the end of the day there’s no one to eat the food. So, that’s as simple as I can put it. Anything else I think you can interpret it how you saw it out there, otherwise my comment will not matter anymore because you can never play football like this and come out without any results.
“That’s beyond us. We’re doing everything we can. The last time I said if you look at all aspects of the game, you find them in our game; the way we construct our passes, the way we get into the box, the way we move around, you get everything,” said Ndlovu.
Bosso started the match at a frenetic pace, a clear indication that the ailing Bulawayo giants were desperate for an early opener and forced two corner kicks inside the opening three minutes.
Highlanders’ first shot on target was a weak effort straight into the hands of Herentals goalkeeper Frank Kuchineyi.
Bosso threw everything at Herentals, but the visitors frustrated their hosts by easily breaking up play in midfield.
Midfielder Brian Banda had a crack at goal in the 21st minute, but it was pushed out for a corner by the goalkeeper.
Highlanders had shouts for a penalty turned down in the 30th minute by little known referee Lysias Dika, who was clearly overwhelmed by the occasion, when Herentals defender Blessing Maunganize appeared to handle the ball inside the box.
Dika let Herentals midfielder Tinotenda Benza off the hook for excessively pushing Bosso wingback McClive Phiri against the fence. Phiri’s head crashed against the pole and he was taken straight to hospital after being attended to by team medics in the 42nd minute.
Benza was already on a yellow card for a similar push on wingback Mbongeni Ndlovu earlier on. The second half was similar to the first, with Bosso strikers Prince Dube and Tinashe Makanda taking turns to fluff chances that fell their way as desperation clearly got the better of them.
Even the introduction of returning midfielder Denzel Khumalo in the 69th minute failed to yield desired results, with his only meaningful contribution being an attempt that went agonisingly wide.
Tafadzwa Chitukutuku almost won it for Herentals with the last kick of the match when he broke on the left side and unleashed a shot that hit the side netting.
“This was a good game for us and it was important that we recover after that loss to Manica Diamonds. My boys fought well for this result even though our opponents came hot on us. I think with a bit of luck we should have won this game, especially on breaks,” said Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziwa.
Highlanders: Ariel Sibanda, McClive Phiri, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Tendai Ndlovu, Peter Muduhwa, Nqobizitha Masuku, Brian Banda, Bukhosi Sibanda, Tinashe Makanda, Divine Mhindirira, Prince Dube
Herentals: Frank Kuchineyi, Wilmore Chimbetu, Blessing Majarira, Kelvin Bangala, Carlos Mavhumure, Blessing Maunganize, Innocent Benza, Richard Hachiro, Peter Chota, William Kapumha
Match Day Eight results
Saturday: FC Platinum 2-0 ZPC Kariba, Black Rhinos 2-1 Hwange, Harare City 2-1 Triangle United, Bulawayo Chiefs 2-0 Dynamos, Ngezi Platinum Stars 1-1 Yadah
Sunday: Manica Diamonds 1-1 TelOne, Highlanders 0-0 Herentals, Chapungu 0-3 Chicken Inn, Caps United 3-2 Mushowani Stars. The Chronicle