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Soma-Phiri for Bosso


Castle Lager Premier Soccer League outfit Highlanders have approached former player Amin Soma-Phiri to be the club’s manager for the 2012 season to replace another ex-player Jerry Sibanda.

Impeccable sources told NewsDay Sport on Saturday that the former Highlanders midfielder was approached last week and could be putting pen to paper as the next Bulawayo football giants’ manager today.

Sibanda’s contract at Highlanders and those of the other members of the technical team, including that of head coach Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku, expire on December 31, which has been confirmed by chairman Themba Ndlela.

“They have approached him (Soma-Phiri) and he will probably be signing the contract on Monday. The Highlanders executive will not be renewing the contracts of all the members of the technical team. Soma will probably be the next manager,” the source said.

Soma-Phiri yesterday confirmed that he had been approached by Highlanders for the manager’s post, but he was still to decide.

“They have approached me, but nothing tangible has been reached at the moment. You can phone me tomorrow. There are one or two things that I have to look at. You see, I am a coach and I have my own team (Division Two side Luveve Big XI) and some of these things you have to discuss with family. I am still taking all this into consideration,” Soma-Phiri said.

Highlanders secretary Andrew Tapela yesterday could neither deny nor confirm that the club was courting Soma-Phiri, but said appointments were the prerogative of Ndlela, who would soon be calling for a Press conference to make announcements.

“The issue of appointments is dealt with by the executive chairman and I am sure very soon he will be calling for a Press conference to make an announcement,” Tapela said.

Ndlela’s mobile phone was not answered yesterday after Tapela had referred this reporter to him.

The Highlanders chairman is due to travel to Canada today for a football administrators’ seminar to be held alongside the 12th edition of the Winstar Junior Soccer Tournament from Wednesday to Saturday.

Mr Cooper has already been relieved of his job with Bosso understood to be enlisting the services of their former foreign player and Zambia’s Zanaco assistant coach Kelvin Kaindu to be assisted by veteran midfielder Bekithemba “Super” Ndlovu.

Highlanders had one of their worst seasons this year ending on position seven on the Castle Lager Premiership log standings after losing 11 matches, which they have never done since the turn of the millennium, with many blaming it on the quality of players and not the technical team.

However, some Highlanders supporters have chosen to apportion blame for the team’s bad spell on the management, waving placards denouncing Ndlela and Tapela with elections for their posts due next month.

Sibanda, the incumbent manager, is said to be eyeing the secretary’s post in the coming elections.

In March this year, Soma-Phiri went on a tirade and took a swipe at Highlanders’ executives for bringing down the fortunes of the club by hiring and firing coaches willy-nilly.

Soma-Phiri said previous executives fired Rahman Gumbo, Eddie May, Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo, Methembe “Mayor” Ndlovu, Reuben Tsengwa, Dick Chama and Madinda Ndlovu without giving valid reasons.

He also expressed dismay at how Egyptian Mohamed Fathi, replaced by Mr Cooper, left the club.

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