The process of finding a replacement for outgoing Dutch coach Erol Akbay at Highlanders is already in motion and the new technical set-up will be in place before the 2018 preseason starts, the club has confirmed. The Dutchman revealed he won't be renewing his contract with the Bulawayo giants when it expires in December.
He has, since the resignation of Amini Soma-Phiri, been working with the developmental side coach Melusi "Mabaleka" Sibanda, who does not sit on the technical area during matches as he does not have the requisite Caf A licence. Following calls by respected Highlanders legend Lawrence "Lofty" Phiri that the club must start the hunt for the Dutchman's replacement now, instead of waiting for the end of the season, Highlanders chief executive Nhlanhla Dube said the process was already in motion.
"It's in motion (finding a replacement) as I speak to you but it's being done internally. A very strict conversation within the club corridors is going on as we look at the pros and cons of the whole appointment thing. It is being done diligently, quietly and internally but what is certain is that by the time the pre-season gets underway everything will be in place," said Dube. The Highlanders head of secretariat said even without advertising for the post, as they did in the hunt for an assistant coach, his office has already received a number of applications from both within and outside the country. We have a number of applications from within the country and from outside but it's not going to be an overnight thing. We will do a holistic approach where we will look at exactly what we want to achieve as Highlanders next year going forward but barring a calamity everything should be in place well on time," said Dube.
Applications came from far afield as Europe and South America. Meanwhile, Highlanders will not be appointing a substantive assistant coach despite advertising for the post.
"It really was on the advice of the coach who said we are left with a few games before the season comes to an end so they might not be any need to have a substantive person now," said Dube. Nine prospective candidates had thrown in their applications for the post, among them Dalubuhle Bhebhe, Partson Ndabambi and former striker Tobias Mudyambanje.