HIGHLANDERS yesterday officially announced the full technical team to steer the club for the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, doing away with the fitness trainer and kit manager’s posts due to financial challenges as traditional sponsor BancABC has slashed the sponsorship package.
As reported by this paper last week, Mandla Mpofu comes in as head coach Bongani Mafu’s assistant while Peter Nkomo was retained as the goalkeepers’ coach. Netsai Moyo bounced back at the club as the new welfare manager.
The posts of fitness trainer held by Majaha Ndlovu and kit manager Vezigama Dlodlo have been abolished.
Mafu has been tasked with identifying coaches for the juniors. Mpofu, Nkomo and Moyo signed one-year renewable contracts with the Bulawayo giants.
Also unveiled yesterday at Number 50 Robert Mugabe Way, the club’s headquarters, were team medic Sebastian Ndlovu while physiotherapist Loyal Nyika was not in attendance.
“Our sponsors (BancABC) have officially told us that they will reduce the sponsorship for this year,” chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede said at the official unveiling.
“They called it a variation. We had a meeting with them three weeks ago. This meant that we had to exercise serious austerity measures and that is the reason we are trimming like this.
“We are extremely proud today to announce to you officially the set-up of our technical department. Mandla (Mpofu) is a local boy with a lot of experience and understands the culture of the club. He has been on the sidelines, but he is equally known. Nkomo (Peter) is an old horse, a distinguished sportsperson. He once migrated and came back. Netsai Moyo is also an old horse and he comes in as our new manager. Dr Sebastian Ndlovu could be running a private surgery, but we are happy that he could spare time to be with us. His dedication to the club is unquestionable.”
Ndlovu and Dlodlo were at the club offices yesterday to make the official handover and Gumede took time to explain the role of veteran coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu, who was roped in as technical adviser late last year.
Yesterday morning, Zulu handed over the team’s trialists to the new technical team at Hartsfield Rugby Ground as Bosso got off to their pre-season preparations.
“Cosmas (Zulu) does not feature in this set-up, but that does not mean he is on enemy territory,” Gumede said.
“He did a sterling job and played a very important position to restore normalcy. We had some players who were on loan and we want them back. If the coach (Mafu) has them in his plans they should stay. He (Zulu) ran his last session with the interns (trialists) under the watchful eyes of the coach.”
Gumede said Moyo would be responsible for the welfare side of the players and “any other duties allocated by the coach”.
Moyo takes over from another former player Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo, whose contract expired on December 31.
Gumede said former caretaker coach Mark Mathe, who was assistant to Zambian Kelvin Kaindu last year, was one of the 12 candidates who did not make it for the head coach’s job.
Mafu yesterday said he was hoping Bosso would play the best football this year.
“We are going to play good football with our vibrant young team, but I am not going to be a fortune teller,” he said.
“We are going to do the best we can.”
Over 50 players attended the Bosso trials yesterday which continue today with Arnold Ndiweni, Chidzani Malaba, Lindelani Ncube resurfacing at the Bulawayo giants together with defender Julius Daudi plotting a comeback.
Mafu will be assessing players from last year’s squad before assembling the team for this year.