HIGHLANDERS head coach Bongani Mafu says he needs left-back Bruce Kangwa back to join the rest of the team as he continues pre-season preparations.
Mafu made a personal call and drove to Kangwa’s residence on Saturday to find out if the overlapping defender was available and was told Kangwa was on his way back from South Africa.
“I want him back into the team. I drove to his place yesterday (Saturday) and was told by his brother that he is in South Africa and would be arriving today (yesterday),” Mafu said.
Kangwa has not been part of the team that started training last week on Tuesday and a player close to him confirmed the roving defender would be joining the rest of the squad this week.
Over 60 players plus 20 from the yesteryear senior team swamped Hartsfield Rugby Ground last week seeking an opportunity to be part of the Highlanders squad, but Mafu has trimmed the players to 30.
“So far it has been good with the trials, but we have trimmed the players to just over 30. I have eight new players. Honestly, I don’t know the players, but they are local boys from lower divisions with potential. But we have to go to their clubs to check their statuses. I want to replace the experienced players who left. We need to beef up the squad,” he said.
“I am still sticking to the age range of 17 to 28 and a player can be 23 and still be suitable as long as they have the correct body size and the right physical attributes,” he said.
Highlanders last week parted ways with Mthulisi Maphosa, Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube, Joel Ngodzo, Hillary Madzivanyika, Dumisani Ndlovu, Tapiwa Dephistara and goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni.
From this group, Dephistara seems to be the most unfortunate as he was not used regularly last season when he joined mid-season from Chiredzi, but his talent is not in doubt.
Maphosa, Ncube and Ngodzo fell by the wayside due to disciplinary issues. Bosso has recalled Douglas Sibanda who was on loan to relegated Shabanie Mine and Lewis Ncube, who was out at Southern Region Division One side Black Boots.
Bosso are targeting Division One side Ntabazinduna Prison’s Edmore Muzanenhamo and could be signing Chicken Inn goalkeeper Liberty Chirava after losing Munyaradzi Diya to How Mine with Nyoni’s contract not being renewed.
More than five goalkeepers attended the trials last week, including Chirava. But Mafu said there was no need to rush.
“There is no need to rush. The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League registration for players is still open and there is still time,” he said.
Senior players who attended training last week are goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, Felix Chindungwe, Charles Sibanda Innocent Mapuranga, Simon Munawa, Welcome Ndiweni, Erick Mudzingwa, Simba Sithole and Rahman Kutsanzira.
Also at training were Webster Chingodza, Knox Mutizwa, Ozias Zibande, King Nadolo and Godfrey Makaruse.
Chicken Inn midfielder Canaan Nkomo trained with Highlanders while former players Obadiah Tarumbwa and Zephania Ngodzo, who had been part of the training, did not appear on Saturday.