The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Boss' Technical Team's Contracts Expires Today

Bulawayo — THE Highlanders executive will soon meet to discuss about their coaches' fate following the expiry of all technical team's contracts today except that of head coach Kelvin Kaindu. Members of the technical team whose contracts run out today are assistant coach Bekithemba Ndlovu, goalkeepers' coach Tembo Chuma, manager Amin Soma-Phiri, Xolani Ndlovu the team doctor and physiotherapist Loyal Nyika.

Xolani and Nyika will soon receive their letters of re-engagement while Soma-Phiri, Chuma and Bekithemba will have to wait for their performances to be reviewed.

Highlanders chairman Peter Dube said yesterday that contrary to rumours that some members of the technical team had been fired, that was not the case.

He said Highlanders like any other entity had a system where there are performance appraisals for the technical team, coaches also reviewing their players and the club membership looking at the executive's performance at the annual general meeting.

He said his executive did not have any personal issues with any members of the technical team. He said they were driven by the desire to see the club succeed. The truth of the matter is that the technical team members signed contracts that run up to 31 December 2012. What we simply did was to remind them that their contracts are coming to an end and we have not had time to look at those issues during the season. Everyone was focused on seeing the club improve.

"What I want to state categorically is that no individual has the power to hire or fire coaches, it's a collective thing where the executive and the board are involved," said Dube.

Social networks were awash with unnamed sources alleging that Dube is bent on sacking all those that are said to have been aligned to the former chairman Themba Ndlela.

Without mentioning names, Dube said he was shocked that there were people said to belong to certain individuals.

"It is shocking to hear that kulabantu bomuntu (that some people belong to individuals) because I believe we worked together as a team throughout the year. No one has been relieved of his duties but already people are speculating. Every organisation assesses its employees and we are going to do that. No one is being victimised and appointments and re-appointments will be made on merit.

"That system of saying people belong to individuals in the club is wrong because those who are employed by Highlanders must serve the club not individuals' interests. If employees understand that they are employed by the club they will be loyal to the institution," Dube said.

Highlanders finished the 2012 domestic season second on the log tied on 69 points with champions Dynamos but lost out on an inferior goal difference. The former champions under Zambian expatriate coach Kaindu won 20 games, had nine draws and lost once to Monomotapa.

Chuma will get credit for drilling Ariel Sibanda who was the league's Goalkeeper of the Season and also made it into the senior national team.

There were concerns that Bekithemba Ndlovu was still raw and lacks experience to takeover if called upon now. As for Soma-Phiri, there were allegations which were levelled against him as he was said to have been the one who incited players to go on strike over outstanding allowances.

He is said to have failed to convince players to return to training as he is alleged to have driven them to a meeting where the strike decision was made in Mpopoma.

That incident could be Soma-Phiri's biggest undoing after an impressive debut season as club manager.

A challenge that Dube faces is arresting the issue of staff turnover as Highlanders has in the past four years had five different coaches.

In 2009 when Ndlela was voted into office, Madinda Ndlovu was the head coach and his team was made up of assistant coach Philani Mabhena, manager Raerburn Ndebele and Peter Nkomo the goalkeepers' trainer.

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