Brito remains extra cautious

The Bulawayo giants have remained unbeaten in all their 17 league games this season and appear on course to end their 17-year wait for the league title.

HIGHLANDERS coach Baltemar Brito has cautioned his players not to get carried away with their current impressive form in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, emphasising that they “haven't conquered anything yet”.

In a thrilling top-of-the-clash battle at Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro-Ngezi on Sunday, a beautiful second half curling strike by Lynoth Chikuhwa secured them a 1-0 victory over second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars  to make it six consecutive wins for Bosso who stretched their lead at the top to seven points at the midway point of the season.

The Bulawayo giants have remained unbeaten in all their 17 league games this season and appear on course to end their 17-year wait for the league title.

However, Brito is careful not to overplay his side’s remarkable performances this far.

The Brazilian is hugely impressed with his charges’ work, but wants to ensure his team remains focussed and grounded, understanding that there is still a long way to go before achieving their ultimate goal.

“We are happy, but we know there are 17 games still to play. So in those games, if we get some injuries and suspensions it can disturb us a little bit and other strong teams can capitalise because they also want to be at the top,” Brito said.

Highlanders have amassed 37 points from their opening 17 matches, while Ngezi are on 30. Manica Diamonds who beat Bulawayo Chiefs 3-1 on Saturday are on third with 29 points, one ahead of Dynamos who returned to the top four courtesy of a 5-1 hammering of Yadah on Sunday.

“At the moment the job is to keep the boys focused because we haven't conquered anything yet. We just have to be professional in all the remaining games and try to give our best and collect three points. In the end, if we win a game, we are happy, if we draw, it depends on how we drew, and if we lose, we know that the boys need support in these moments,” Brito said.

“What we want right now is to enjoy this moment because it's a good moment and we love to see our boys and the City of Bulawayo happy. We will try to win games because we are serious and professionals but there is still a long way to go. We have seen teams with a lead of 11 points losing the championship. We need to be aware of everything and we are trying to enjoy this moment.”

Brito, who worked as Jose Mourinho's assistant for eight years, was full of praise for the quality football on show in Mhondoro which he said was a good advertisement for local football.

He has often complained about time wasting  in domestic football, and was happy his side managed to resist the temptation even after taking the lead in this high stakes game.

Brito could be seen admonishing substitute Stanley Ngala to get up when the big forward went down easily late in the match following a challenge.

“If you guys analysed, our players didn’t delay and waste time. It was very easy for us to do that after we had scored the goal, but we didn't do that because we have a responsibility to develop Zimbabwe football. Wasting time is not good for the spectators, so in the end what makes the game beautiful is this kind of approach where you play an open game to create some expectations and emotions from the fans. We are here to try and improve the football. We might not be the best in this business but we are also not the worst, so in the end we want football. We are not from this country but we feel Zimbabwean because we work here,” he explained.

“We had a slot to make one more substitution, but we didn't want to waste time. We were in control of the match and it was entertaining, so we thought why waste time. If all the teams can have this mindset, it would be good for the football players, the coaches, the journalists and the supporters. In the end everyone will be the winner.”

Highlanders begin the second half of the season with a tough trip away to a rejuvenated ZPC Kariba at the weekend.

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