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Soma-Phiri misses first day

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Castle Lager Premier Soccer League heavyweights Highlanders began their pre-season training at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday without caretaker coach Amini Soma-Phiri, who has been asked to preside over the team’s technical bench until new coach Dutchman Erol Akbay regularises his paper work.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

Soma-Phiri won the EasyCall Cup with Bosso last season as well as helping lift the team from the danger area of the league log to finish on a credible sixth position, considering the circumstances he had found them in.

The club executive decided to go ahead with their pre-made plans to appoint a foreign coach despite Soma-Phiri’s achievements.

He was expected to oversee training yesterday, but in his absence, Cosmas Zulu was in charge of the session, which was watched by club chairman Peter Dube and chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede.

“He (Soma-Phiri) ought to be here. He is around, he was seen yesterday and is probably tired, but he will be joining the team anytime soon,” Gumede said.

Amini Soma-Phiri

Also absent for the first training session was first-choice goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and striker Ralph Matema, who are also expected to join the rest of the team before the end of the week.

Midfielder Valentine Ndaba popped in and excused himself after a brief chat with Zulu.

About 35 players, including those from the Division One side, attended training, with Zulu reading the riot act when he addressed the players.

“Our emphasis is on three Ds; discipline, dedication and devotion. I will be coming up with a code of conduct for you guys which I will have authorised by chief executive officer and if you can’t meet that, we will fire you,” Zulu said.

Bosso await incoming substantive coach, who is being assessed by the Department of Immigration for a work permit, and Gumede said if all went well, he would be arriving in the country anytime soon.

Zulu was assisted by Melusi “Mabaleka” Sibanda, who will be in charge of the Highlanders Division One side.

Some of the players at yesterday’s training session include skipper Felix Chindungwe, Erick Mudzingwa, Simon Munawa, Tendai Ngulube, King Nadolo, Godfrey Makaruse, Peter Muduhwa, Rahman Kutsanzira, Julius Daudi and goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni.

Knox Mutizwa and Bruce Kangwa are in the Warriors’ camp in Harare for Chan 2016 which starts in Rwanda on Saturday.

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