HIGHLANDERS head coach Bongani Mafu has finalised the 30-member squad for the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) season, with inclusion of right-back Lewis “Rambo” Ncube.
Mafu yesterday said his squad was now complete and would not be dabbling with it as he was now content the players he has will compete in the league.
“I did not have a right-back and I had to decide during the weekend,” Mafu said. “My job has been to come up with a squad of 30 players and I have done that. It has been hard and difficult especially for the young men that have been eager to play for Highlanders, but I had to tell them that they could not fit into the squad. I have sat down with each one of them and hopefully one day they will return and finally become Highlanders players.”
He said he had submitted his final list of 30 players to chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede, who, however, said he was out of office in Ntabazinduna dealing with the issue of midfielder Edmore Muzanenhamo, formerly of Ntabazinduna Prison, who the Bulawayo giants have registered for the season.
Peter Muduhwa seconded to Highlanders from Ajax Hotspurs, Ashton Mhlanga, who last year was with Black Mambas, Arnold Chidzani Malaba, Mlungisi Ncube and Arnold Ndiweni will be loaned out to other clubs.
Mafu said Ndiweni might be recalled if needed. Sources said striker Simba Sithole had made it in the last minute while left-back Julius Daudi, who still has to get a reverse international transfer clearance from Namibia where he played for FNB XI, had been dropped.
Mafu said the rest of the players that had not made it would be playing for Highlanders’ side which features in the Zifa Bulawayo Province Division Two League.
New players that have been registered by the Bulawayo giants are Tendai Ngulube, Muzanenhamo, Obadiah Tarumbwa, Nqobizitha Masuku, Teenage Hadebe and goalkeeper Liberty Chirava.
Right-back Ncube returns from Black Boots where he was on loan together with Douglas Sibanda, who had been loaned out to Shabanie Mine last year.
Making up the junior quota of five players are striker Thomas Chideu from Harare, midfielder Godfrey Makaruse, Bukhosi Ncube, Ismael Musaka and Thembalethu Mthunzi.
Retained from the senior ranks are goalkeepers Ariel Sibanda and Njabulo “Popo” Nyoni, Felix Chindungwe, Mthulisi Maphosa. Erick Mudzingwa, Bruce Kangwa, Simon Munawa, Welcome Ndiweni, King Nadolo, Knox Mutizwa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Gabriel Nyoni, Ozias Zibande, Webster Chingodza, Honest Moyo and Sithole.
“We are talking closely with two senior players to make sure they are accommodated,” Mafu said with indications that former skipper Innocent Mapuranga, who still has a running contract, did not make the final squad.
“We have a good squad and I love the way they work. I wish them all the best. They will have to work hard and consistently. It’s now final. I will not be making any changes. I will be working with the squad that I have submitted,” Mafu said.
He said left-back Zimiseleni Moyo, who returned home from Zambia’s Zesco United just trained with the club, but no deal was made with Highlanders.