Highlanders juniors’ coach Dumaza Dube has quit the Bulawayo giants to join Division One side Bantu Rovers on a long-term contract as juniors’ development co-ordinator.
by FORTUNE MBELE
Bantu Rovers chief executive officer Wilbert Sibanda confirmed Bantu Rovers had enlisted the services of the former national Under-15 coach, who worked for Highlanders for a long time and produced some of the best talents in the top-flight.
“Dube is now juniors’ development co-ordinator at Bantu Rovers with effect from January 1,” Sibanda said.
“It is a long-term contract. His main focus will be on recruitment of junior players from the Under-14s to the Under-18s.”
Dube will also be in charge of the academic portfolio where he will co-ordinate private lessons to help players at the club who are still at school.
“Tshintsha Guluva”, as Bantu are also known, played in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 2009 and in 2014 after acquiring the top-flight franchise from Eastern Lions and Bulawayo Chiefs respectively.
On both occasions, they failed to last longer than one season in the elite league.
The club’s main thrust is junior development and it targets to export some of its best talents, particularly to the United States, where academic excellence is a requirement.
“Dube also heads the academic side and will be responsible for hiring of tutors to conduct private lessons to help players at the club who are still at school and prepare them for scholarship opportunities which are facilitated by Bantu Rovers,” Sibanda said.
Last year, Bantu Rovers took 17-year-old Mthabisi Tshuma to Taft High School in Chicago and 16-year-old Percival Sibanda to Brooks School in Massachusetts, both in the US.
Other junior players who have gone to the US on scholarship under Bantu Rovers’ auspices are Ray Lunga, who now plays for Bulawayo Chiefs in Division One and Sean Banda, who is also a short-distance sprinter.
Dube, who will also be in charge of the Under-14s, will assist another former Bosso player Chipo Tsodzo, who coaches the Under-16s at Bantu Rovers.
Tsodzo is assistant to former Bosso and Warriors prolific midfielder Johannes Ngodzo, who is in charge of the Under-18s and assists former Highlanders senior team assistant coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu in the senior team.
Last year, Bantu Rovers appointed former Highlanders chairman and manager Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda as chief of protocol, in charge of all teams.
Meanwhile, Bantu Rovers, who are gunning for a return to the PSL, will be holding trials at St Columbas High School tomorrow.
“Our strategy is that we have two thirds of the senior team being Under-20 and we will be promoting players from the juniors.
We will be holding trials on Tuesday at St Columbas. Having young players in the team is not an excuse not to win the championship. The coach (Mpofu) knows that our target is to return to the PSL in 2017 by winning the championship. We want to recreate the golden generation squad that took part in the Dallas Cup in the US in 2012 that had players like Marvelous Nakamba, Kuda Mahachi and the twins Elvis and Kevin Moyo,” Sibanda said.
Nakamba is now based in the Netherlands for top Dutch side Vitesse, while Mahachi is on loan to South African Golden Arrows from top side Mamelodi Sundowns and the Moyo brothers are at local side FC Platinum.