Absa Premiership

Highlands Park stays home for Kaizer Chiefs crowd-puller

2019-07-25 12:42
Owen da Gama (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - "Winning," said Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama, "is the name of the game" following "The Lions of the North" decision to play their season-opening Absa Premiership crowd-puller against Kaizer Chiefs at the compact Makhulong Stadium instead of switching to a venue where they could have doubled the crowd - and more.

Highlands' home ground in Tembisa has a maximum capacity of barely 12 000 and at a more spacious venue the timely fixture could well have drawn anything up to 30 000 spectators.

"But our objective," added De Gama, "is to play where we have the best chance of winning - and also reward our supporters for the ongoing support they gave us during the past season."

The Highlands coach said many soccer followers did not comprehend - or were not even aware - of the glamour status and success the club had enjoyed prior to the controversial sale of their premier division status to Jomo Cosmos in 1982.

"For more than three decades the club went out of existence in the professional ranks," added Da Gama, "but the ambition now is to get back to where we once were.

"After regaining Premier League status last season with promotion from the NFD, we surprised many by qualifying for the Top Eight competition, while edging out Chiefs in the process, and that is what is adding additional spice to the season opener on August 4."

Da Gama believes that after making five calculated player purchases during the off-season, Highlands are now equipped to take another step forward in rekindling the past.

"The emphasis,'' he added, "has been to add a degree of maturity to the defence and so avoid the kind of needless goals that cost us dearly last season."

Meanwhile, what the coach of "The Lions of the North" believes was the main reason for Highland's advancement last season, namely the team spirit, camaraderie and unstinting effort of the players, will again be their strong points in the coming campaign.


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Saturday, 24 August 2019
Golden Arrows v Chippa United, Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium 15:00
Black Leopards v Highlands Park, Thohoyandou Stadium 15:00
Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United, FNB Stadium 18:00
Sunday, 25 August 2019
Stellenbosch v Maritzburg United, Athlone Stadium 15:00
Baroka FC v Bloemfontein Celtic, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:00
Tuesday, 27 August 2019
Cape Town City v Kaizer Chiefs, Cape Town Stadium 19:30
Highlands Park v AmaZulu, Makhulong Stadium 19:30
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