HomeSportHighlanders lack depth

Highlanders lack depth

Ndamu Sandu

WHILE Black Rhinos were booking a quarter-final berth in the African safari for the second time in 18 years, Zimbabwean soccer powerhouse Highlanders were going through a nightmare in Tunisia, th

e worst experienced by a local club in continental football.

The 6-0 drubbing by Tunisian giants Esperance in the second round of the Africa Champions League second leg has cruelly exposed Zimbabwe champions’ shortcomings.

But it was all joy for Rhinos who overcame a 1-0 deficit from the first leg away to Kiyovu Sport of Rwanda, to win 2-0 at Rufaro Stadium last Sunday, and advance to the quarter-finals of the less prestigious Caf Cup.

The mood was different in the Highlanders camp. It was their fourth straight campaign in the tournament in which they have failed to go beyond the second round.

While theories linked to the ouster of Bosso are as numerous as those linked to the assassination of former US President John Kennedy, there is one crucial one – lack of depth.

It was always going to be difficult for Bosso to make an impact after losing influential players like Charles Chilufya, Dazzy Kapenya, Blessing Gumiso, Siza Khoza, Thulani Ncube and Thabani Masawi, to local and foreign clubs.

The club did not do much to find suitable replacements although they brought in the likes of Chipo Tsodzo, Chewe Mulenge and Chenjerai Dube.

Highlanders seem to be unwilling to invest heavily in players who can make a difference in their continental campaigns.

After playing out a 1-1 draw with the Tunisians in Bulawayo, the outcome of the reverse fixture, although largely expected, was a bit on the harsh side.

In fact had goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini not “donated” a goal to the visitors, his side could have taken a 1-0 lead into the second leg.

It is true that Esperance have more experience in the competi-tion, but it is also true that Highlanders have been exposed to the competition for sometime now and should have learnt from past experience.

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