HIGHLANDERS head coach Erol Akbay arrived in Bulawayo yesterday from South Africa, ready to start business for the 2017 Premier Soccer League campaign, dispelling speculation that was he was not returning to Zimbabwe.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Akbay arrived around midday at Joshua Mqabuko International Airport aboard a South African Airways plane and was met by club secretary-general Emmett Ndlovu.
“He [Akbay] landed around midday from South Africa where he put up yesterday night and he has already started work.
He has to hit the ground running. The manager [Vezigama Dlodlo] said he was due to meet with the other coaches and the players the clubhouse and I am meeting him at the office because there are certain issues that we have to iron out,” Ndlovu said.
The Dutchman signed a two-year contract with Highlanders last year and helped the team finish the 2016 season on position three, behind runners-up FC Platinum and champions Caps Union.
Akbay’s mandate last year was a top-four finish, but the club will demand the league title in the 2018 season.
The team started training three weeks ago under technical director Cosmas Zulu before they were joined this week by assistant coach Amini Soma-Phiri, who had been away in Harare attending a Caf A Licence coaching course.
The club embarks on a two-week training camp in South Africa and are scheduled to leave tomorrow.
They return to take on FC Platinum in the semi-final of the Zimbabwe National Army Charity Shield semi-final on February 26.
Akbay was expected to meet Zulu and Soma-Phiri later yesterday.
“I am meeting with my assistants in the evening [yesterday] to get a briefing on what has been happening in my absence. But the holiday is over and it’s back to work for me as we leave for South Africa on Sunday morning and hopefully we start training there on Monday,” Akbay said.