Mafu stays, at least for now

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HIGHLANDERS fans will have to wait a little bit longer to see the back of underfire coach Bongani Mafu as the meeting to decide his fate cannot be held due to the absence of the Bosso leadership.

BY THANDIWE MOYO

Mafu’s performance-based contract was set to be assessed this week, but the beleaguered coach got a temporary reprieve as Highlanders chairman Peter Dube is in South Africa as head of delegation for the Warriors assignment in the Cosafa Cup.

Highlanders secretary-general Emmett Ndlovu is also away in South Africa where he attended a meeting with the team’s South Africa-based followers while the club has no treasurer following the resignation of Jerry Sibanda.

Highlanders vice-chairman Mgcini Sibhalo Mpofu, who resides in Harare, and committee member Wisdom Mabhena are the only members of the executive committee who are in the country which means the meeting cannot go ahead as they do not form a quorum.

Highlanders lost 2-1 to Chicken Inn on Saturday, their fourth defeat of the Premier Soccer League season which left them in eighth position with 14 points from 10 matches.

Mafu was reportedly meant to get 18 points in 10 games, a feat he has failed to achieve in that period.

This means he will oversee this Sunday’s home match against WhaWha, the next trip to FC Platinum in Match Day 12 and the home tie against How Mine before he can be fired, if the club decides to follow that course of action. Dube will be back in Zimbabwe on May 30 when the Cosafa Cup ends or even earlier if the Warriors are knocked out.

Word had spread like fire yesterday that Mafu had been dismissed after falling short of the 10-match target, but club chief executive Ndumiso Gumede dismissed the speculation.

“We assess the team on a weekly basis and it is highly unlikely that this week we will have the meeting because the chairman Dube is in South Africa,” he said.

“The meeting to assess the third of the games that (Mafu) has overseen is a bigger exercise and it would require all executive members present to review the matches.

“There is a chance that the review meeting will not be held until the chairman returns.”

After 10 games last season, Highlanders were riding high with 20 points and they had not lost a match under the guidance of now Triangle coach Kelvin Kaindu.

Mafu’s predecessor Kaindu lost a total of 14 games in three seasons and six of those defeats were suffered at home in the last two years.

In 2012, Highlanders lost one match, in 2013 they lost eight and last season Kaindu lost five before his resignation after being targeted by violent fans following Bosso’s 1-3 loss to ZPC Kariba.

So unpopular has Mafu become, fans have taken to singing protest songs to voice their discontent whenever the team is on the receiving end at Barbourfields.

Supporters have even taken their protests to the Highlanders clubhouse and indications are that the coach may indeed be on his way out.

But sources privy to the goings-on at Highlanders refuted claims that he had been shown the exit saying the executive was not available to make that decision.

“Who will fire him? The chairman and secretary are in South Africa and the meeting has not been held,” one source said.