HIGHLANDERS’ assistant coach Amini Soma-Phiri has stepped down from his post after allegations of sabotage levelled against him by coach Erol Akbay.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The Bulawayo football giants have lost four matches out of six in the second half of the Premiership season after a good start in the first round.
Club chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube yesterday announced that Soma-Phiri had tendered his resignation.
“We received a letter from the coach (Akbay) in which he articulated what he viewed were the reasons for the team’s poor performance,” Dube said.
“We had to cross-reference these issues with various other members of the technical team and this resulted in assistant coach Amini Soma-Phiri resigning from work this afternoon (yesterday).”
He was quick to point out that Akbay would be under review now that Soma-Phiri was gone and dismissed the Dutchman’s claims that the team was performing badly because chief striker Prince Dube and Roderick Mutuma had left, saying the club had signed nine strikers at the beginning of the season, whom the coach assessed and was happy with.
“We are giving the coach carte blanche (to do as he wishes) with the team to deliver. As professionalism requires, there is no interference. All conditions have been met. All we demand are results and not excuses,” Dube said.
“We must find a break point at some point and, by the way, assistant coach or no assistant coach, the buck stops with the head coach. Expectations are that we can’t continue on the downward spiral. We will review much quicker than we have been doing until now.”
Akbay will now be working with developmental side Bosso 90 coach Melusi Sibanda, who has been elevated, but will not be sitting on the bench as he does not meet the requisite qualifications.
Peter Nkomo remains goalkeepers’ coach.
Akbay had indicated he preferred Cosmas Zulu as his assistant as well, but the club would not allow that.
“We are very clear about the reason why Cosmas Zulu is not part of the first team. A disciplinary process was set up,” the Bosso chief said.
“We were very unequivocal in the reason we set up that disciplinary committee and the reasons that were proffered have not changed.
“And for that reason, we find absolutely no reason why we must stick our middle finger at principle and change the set-up, especially when the reasons that caused the suspension and re-arrangement of the senior technical team set-up are not fabricated.”