PREMIER Soccer League (PSL) side Highlanders’ Dutch coach Erol Akbay will walk out of Bosso at the end of the season after frustrations emanating from the club’s financial troubles.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The mentor is in the last five months of an initial two-year contract, but he has already made up his mind that he will not be open to renewing the contract with Bosso.
He announced yesterday that he was open to offers from other clubs.
The news came as a shock and major setback to Highlanders, who are searching for their first league title since 2006.
“I will stop coaching Highlanders at the end of year. I am not certain what I will do at the end of the year, but I will see that I will stop at the end of year with this club,” Akbay told journalists yesterday.
“There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest is the financial situation for me. That is why it’s not possible to continue working for Highlanders. I have already made a decision. My contract ends this year and I am not renewing.”
Bosso chief executive Nhlanhla Dube was taken by surprise at the news, saying no communication had been made to the club in that regard.
Although he admitted that the club still owed the coach part of his signing-on fees, his salary was up to date as it is paid by their sponsor BancABC.
“He has not informed the executive committee. I just heard it now. They (the executive committee) have not heard anything until I tell them,” Dube said.
“I have heard what he has said and that will be communicated when the committee gets together. I am sure he is going to inform me in writing if that is his intention. We will consider that and respond appropriately.
“We are very thankful to our sponsors that have remained with us particularly BancABC, who have made sure that the players are paid on time, including the coach. I am not aware of any challenges regarding any payment to the coach.”
Akbay said that he was open to other opportunities both locally and abroad and was unlikely to change his mind about Highlanders.
“I made the decision yesterday (Wednesday) to quit this club at the end of the year and I have no idea about any opportunities in this country or anywhere. I will see what will come up in four months,” he said.
“If you have to leave, you have to say that after the mid-season. That is normal for coaches and for the players so that the club knows that you want to go and they can look for another coach and for other clubs to know that Erol is free so they can approach me. It’s good for both sides.”
Akbay appears to be irked by the club’s failure to get replacements for the good players that have left the club since he came in.
Highlanders lost Bruce Kangwa to Azam FC of Tanzania and Knox Mutizwa to Bidvest Wits in South Africa and this year, promising striker Prince Dube has joined SuperSport (South Africa) and the club has failed to bring in any new player in the mid-season transfer window.
Highlanders also lost Roderick Mutuma, who has since joined fellow PSL side Yadah FC.
Earlier before breaking the news of his departure, Akbay said players and agents were choosing clubs other than Highlanders because of the financial crisis at the club.
“It’s not that the club did not want to buy players, but the problem is finances in the last two years. Last year, we had the same problem. We sold two good players and we did not have any money to bring in any good player,” he said at the time.
“This year, it has been the same problem. We have sold one good player and the other one is gone. All of the agents that have good players will not come to Highlanders.
“They are going to Chicken Inn, Ngezi or FC Platinum and the players that we are getting here are Division Two or Three players. What it means is the situation here at Highlanders is not easy for a coach. I have to do with the players that I have.”