A COMPLETE overhaul of the Highlanders squad for the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is looming with a number of senior players facing the axe as the club prepares to turn to its juniors.
Bosso finished the 2014 season with 45 points and on position five, failing to qualify for the Mbada Diamonds Cup which they won last season and with no substantive coach after Kelvin Kaindu quit following a 1-3 loss to ZPC Kariba.
Bosso chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede recently said they were taking a serious look at the team in order to prepare for the 2015 season but that will depend on the coming in of a new coach, which the Highlanders executive has kept its supporters guessing about.
“There is going to be assessment of which players we will retain in the coming season,” he said.
“A decision will then be made on players who we will reluctantly disengage. It is work in progress. Contracts are ending and there will be a complete re-examination of the entire team.
“We want a sturdy and stable team. We want a complete team change so that will nullify the significance of negotiations and extensions (of contracts).”
Contracts of senior Highlanders players who include Simon Munawa, Hillary Madzivanyika, Charles Sibanda, Joel Ngodzo and Munyaradzi Diya are expiring on December 31. Indications are that some of these players will fall by the wayside.
Ngodzo, once one of the brightest stars in the country, is now a forlorn figure having failed to live to expectations at FC Platinum before returning to Highlanders at the start of the season.
He might find himself on the sidelines come 2015, or playing for a smaller team.
Diya, though, is expected to sign a new two-year deal, according to weekend reports. Sibanda says he wants to stay at the club where he ended as the top scorer with 12 goals and made it into the soccer star of the year calendar.
Another player who could not be making it back to Bosso is bustling striker Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube, who has not added value to the club since making a return from FC Platinum.
He has been caught up in incidents of indiscipline. Gumede said they wanted committed players like defensive linkman Felix Chindungwe.
“We will have a new team that will revolve around Felix Chindungwe,” he said.
“He will be the fulcrum of our team because he has shown a lot of commitment. He has done well. He has shown a lot of passion and zeal typical of what we want at Highlanders.
“We need to ask ourselves who we want at the back. We want younger players. We don’t want our team to be a retirement home. We must recruit young and exciting players. If we sell them to other teams then we make a gain.
“Khumbulani Banda and Cleopas Dube left Highlanders for South Africa this year. If we can get to sell two or three players we can be able to balance our books. The money we use to buy players will be reimbursed and our books will be balanced by selling players.”
Defender Innocent Mapuranga (37), stripped of the Bosso captaincy in September, is the oldest player at Highlanders.
Gumede said they needed to gain from investing in their junior side.
“We are investing a lot of money in our junior teams,” he said.
“Each week we pump out money to our junior teams. We need to have equitable returns on that investment. We want our juniors to feed into the senior team.
“We don’t want mercenaries. We will be recalling all our players who are on loan. Some of them have been shining like beacons for the teams they have been turning out for. If a team wants to extend a loan with our player then they need to come so that we discuss.”
One such player is Douglas Sibanda, who was at relegated Shabanie Mine and was recently called up for Young Warriors duty.
Charles has been linked to Dynamos, but he says he is committed to Highlanders. He was instrumental in the two goals scored by Godfrey Makaruse and King Nadolo in the 2-0 win over Chapungu in the last game of the season.
“I am looking forward to playing better next season,” he said.
“I am geared up for the coming season although this year did not go well. I have not yet been offered anything outside the country and next year, I could still be with Highlanders. I am a Bosso player.”