HIGHLANDERS could be in turmoil ahead of the 2014 season with most of the senior players’ contracts due to expire on December 31, amid revelations that the majority of them are not eager to renew if head coach Kelvin Kaindu does not return.
The core of the Highlanders squad which has the likes of Mthulisi Maphosa, Peter “Rio” Moyo, Masimba Mambare, Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube, Bruce Tshuma, Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu, Heritein Masuku, Bhekimpilo “Barca” Ncube and goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya have their contracts expiring at the end of the month.
Sources say most of the senior players have indicated that if the Zambian mentor is not in charge at Bosso, they will not be going to the negotiating table with the club.
“The players have been so much attached to Kaindu and there is a danger that if the coach does not come back, they will not be negotiating any new contracts. Among senior players, only (Bruce) Kangwa and Simon Munawa, have running contracts with the club. Retaining the bulk of senior players will definitely hinge on having Kaindu back with the team,” one source said.
Skipper Innocent Mapuranga has a running contract with Highlanders.
A senior player whose contract expires on December 31, yesterday said: “No negotiations have started yet. Maybe it’s because of the break. Maybe other players have been approached, but I have not been approached. I communicate with my colleagues, but none has indicated that they have been involved in negotiations.”
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions Dynamos are reportedly courting Diya, Rio and Milton to include them in their Caf Champions League squad. The three were expected in Harare yesterday to join the Warriors for the African Nations Championships preparations.
Kaindu has reportedly refused to renew his contract with Highlanders if his assistants Bekithemba “Super” Ndlovu and goalkeepers coach Tembo Chuma are not offered new contracts.
Sources have indicated that there are plans to bring back either Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku or former Chicken Inn head coach Mandla Mpofu to assist Kaindu.
The Highlanders executive headed by Peter Dube is under pressure to renew Kaindu’s contract and those of the majority of players.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Dube said as far he was concerned, Kaindu had agreed to pen a new deal with Bosso before he left for Zambia and if there were new developments, he was yet to be briefed since he had been out of office.
“The last I heard, he had agreed and after my accident I have not been in the office and I will be going into a meeting tonight. If there are any developments, we will hear about them,” Dube said.
The Highlanders chairman said negotiations with the coach and the players were in progress, but they still had to rely on their principal sponsors BancABC’s benevolence.
“We are busy negotiating, but we are hamstrung. We still have to be presented with the final document of sponsorship from BancABC. We are negotiating and agreeing and things are looking good,”he said.
Dube was injured when a Pathfinder Luxury Coach was involved in an accident a fortnight ago, killing six people.
Kaindu left Zambia for the United Kingdom last Friday for the Uefa B Licence coaching course and is expected back today in his home country where he is attending a Football Association of Zambia Caf A Licence course. The Zambian mentor, who has played second fiddle to Dynamos in the last two seasons, reportedly made recommendations on the players that he would want for next season.