HIGHLANDERS yesterday officially announced the full technical team to stir the club for the 2015 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, doing away with the fitness trainer and kit manager’s posts due to financial challenges as traditional sponsors BancABC has slashed their sponsorship package.
As reported by the paper last week, Mandla Mpofu comes in as head coach Bongani Mafu’s assistant while Peter Nkomo was retained as the goalkeepers’ coach with Netsai Moyo bouncing back at the club as the new welfare manager.
The posts of fitness trainer held by Majaha Ndlovu and kit manager Vezigama Dlodlo have been abolished.
Mafu has been tasked with identifying coaches for the juniors. Mpofu, Nkomo and Moyo signed one-year renewable contracts with the Bulawayo giants.
Also unveiled yesterday at Number 50 Robert Mugabe Way, the club’s headquarters were team medic Sebastian Ndlovu while physiotherapist Loyal Nyika was not in attendance.
“Our sponsors (BancABC) have officially told us that they will reduce the sponsorship for this year. They called it a variation. We had a meeting with them three weeks ago. This meant that we had to exercise serious austerity measures and that is the reason we are trimming like this,” chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede said at the official unveiling.
“We are extremely proud today to announce to you officially the set-up of our technical department. Mandla (Mpofu) is a local boy with a lot of experience and understands the culture of the club. He has been on the sidelines, but he is equally known. Nkomo (Peter) is an old horse, a distinguished sportsperson. He once migrated and came back. Netsai Moy is also an old horse and he comes in as our new manager. Dr Sebastian Ndlovu could be running a private surgery but we are happy that he could spare time to be with us. His dedication to the club is unquestionable,” Gumede said.
Ndlovu and Dlodlo were at the club offices yesterday to make the official handover and Gumede took time to explain the role of veteran coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu, who was roped in as technical adviser late last year.
Yesterday morning, Zulu handed over the team’s trialists to the new technical team at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds as Bosso got off to their pre-season preparations.
“Cosmas (Zulu) does not feature in this set-up but that does not mean he is on enemy territory. He did a sterling job and played a very important position to restore normalcy. We had some players who were on loan and we want them back and if the coach (Mafu) has them in his plans they stay or they revert to their clubs. He (Zulu) ran his last session with the interns (trialists) under the watchful eyes of the coach,” Gumede said.
The chief executive officer said Moyo will be responsible for the welfare side of the players and “any other duties allocated by the coach”.
Moyo takes over from another former player Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo, whose contract expired on December 31.
Gumede said former caretaker coach Mark Mathe, who was assistant to Zambian Kelvin Kaindu last year, was one of the 12 candidates who did not make it for the head coach’s job.
Mafu yesterday said he is hoping Bosso will play the best football this year.
“We are going to play good football with our vibrant young team but I am not going to be a fortune teller. We are going to do the best we can,” Mafu said.
Over 50 players attended the Bosso trials yesterday which continue today with the likes of Arnold Ndiweni, Chidzani Malaba, Lindelani Ncube resurfacing at the Bulawayo together with defender Julius Daudi plotting a comeback.
Mafu will also be assessing players from last year’s squad before assembling the team for this year.