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Is this the man?

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BONGANI Mafu is set to be unveiled as the new Highlanders coach tomorrow after weeks of speculation.

FORTUNE MBELE
SPORTS REPORTER

Mafu, a former Zimbabwe Saints coach and holder of a Uefa B coaching badge, seems to have gotten the nod from the Highlanders executive after plans to hire a foreign coach were shelved.

Bosso chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede yesterday said the Bulawayo giants would be unveiling their new coach tomorrow.

“By Tuesday (tomorrow), the chairman (Peter Dube) would have announced the new coach,” Gumede said.

Bongani-Mafu
Bongani-Mafu

It appears Mafu is the frontrunner as Highlanders have shelved the idea of appointing a foreign coach citing financial problems.

Principal sponsors BancABC pays the salaries of all Highlanders technical staff and sources say the funders have slashed the package for next year by 40% after having poured $700 000 for the 2014 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season.

Mafu looks set to hold the reins. The coach, who was based in the UK where he has been teaching French, arrived back in the country last month and had been tipped to assist a foreign coach Scot Desmond Donaldson Bulpin.

Mafu said it was only speculation that he had landed the Bosso job to take over from Zambian Kelvin Kaindu.

“I hope I get the job, but as long as we have not signed a contract, what we are talking about is called speculation. It’s them (Highlanders executive) who have the mandate to make the appointment,” Mafu said.

However, in a recent interview just after the gaffer arrived from the UK, he spoke of his objectives if he was to be appointed the Highlanders coach.

“We need to bring back the impetus,” he said. “We need to bring the pace, passion and the people back. We need to work on a bigger picture, talking to the players. I will be going there to coach football, I am a football coach and my job will be to run a football club.

“I was born and bred in Bulawayo. There are few of us who don’t support Highlanders. But if I am going in there, I am not going there as a supporter, but to coach.”

He said he needed young players to bring back glory to Bulawayo giants.

“I need vibrant, tactical and technically aware players whose performance on the pitch will suit and meet the needs of a team like Highlanders,” he said.

“We cannot have passengers. The younger you are, the better in sport. You cannot keep one up to the age of 28. You need to be young and vibrant.

“Personally, I think a good 23-year-old boy is a senior player. From 18 to 23, I think that’s when you can get the best out of them.
The coach added: “But I have never been afraid to put a 17-year-old if he has got the right body size, the right mental attitude. If I come in it will not be a total reshuffle per se; I think there are good players. Obviously you need to check at age, there are players who need to go and take a rest but there may be some that you need.”

Sources have indicated that former Bosso skipper Dazzy Kapenya could be coming in to assist Mafu.

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