THE relationship between Highlanders and coach Baltemar Brito is said to have soured following the Portuguese’s admission that he was looking for a job, having already applied to be Warriors coach.
Bosso are prettily poised to end their 17-year wait for a league title, and the team’s management has been riled by the coaches decision to start looking for another job while his contract still runs.
Brito, who has four months left on his contract with Bosso, revealed to the media on Thursday that he had applied for the vacant Warriors job and was also looking elsewhere.
He said he had not been engaged by the club about renewing the contract.
A reliable source told NewsDay Weekender yesterday that Brito could be hauled before the disciplinary committee for his troubles as he had breached the club’s code of conduct by rushing to the media over contractual issues.
A highly-charged meeting between the two parties was reportedly held yesterday, where Highlanders read the riot act on their coach.
But club’s chief executive officer Ronald Moyo chose to be diplomatic when asked about the issue yesterday.
“We understand and appreciate the coach’s ambition to coach the national team. We can only wish him all the best. What is important is that the coach has a running contract and he is aware of the expectations,” he said.
- Antipas concedes title, tips FC Platinum
- Inside sport: What has gone wrong at Dynamos?
- FC Platinum leave it late to edge Chiefs
- Rhinos test for new Bosso coach Brito
“We are only halfway through the season, so it is only prudent for everyone within the club to remain focused on the task at hand. We have had a good run so far, but we won’t get overexcited and lose focus on what we want to achieve.”
Brito on Thursday told the media that his manager, Gilbert Sengwe, had applied for the vacant Warriors’ job on his behalf.
He said he had received the blessing and encouragement of his friend and AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho to take up the job.
Sengwe confirmed that he had filed Brito’s application with Zifa, but said his client had no intention of disengaging with Highlanders.
“I can confirm that I applied on Brito’s behalf. That does not mean I want to remove him from Highlanders. He is employed by Highlanders and that is his first preference. The coach can still coach Highlanders and the national team at the same time, like what (Norman) Mapeza and (Joey) Antipas did,” Sengwe said.
“I didn’t want to rush and communicate with Highlanders because we have not been offered the Zifa job. If they give Brito the job, then I was going to make an official communication to Highlanders. We were going to sit down with them and try to find a convenient arrangement. It’s a gamble.”
The breakdown in relationship between Brito and Highlanders could disrupt the team’s charge to the title, where they currently lead the race after 18 rounds of matches.
Brito’s men, who face off with Black Rhinos at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow, are unbeaten in all competitions this year, where they have played 20 competitive matches.
The gaffer’s relationship with Bosso is already strained after the coach recently condemned in the public the way his bosses had bungled in their pursuit for striker Obriel Chirinda.
The Portuguese had listed the Bulawayo Chiefs marksman as his priority target in the just-ended player transfer window, but Highlanders could not get the player.
Matchday 19 fixtures
Today: Bulawayo Chiefs v Zpc Kariba (Luveve), Caps United v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Bata), Simba Bhora v Chicken Inn (Baobab), Cranborne Bullets v Fc Platinum (Nyamhunga), Herentals v GreenFuel (Mandava)
Tomorrow: Highlanders v Black Rhinos (Barbourfields), Triangle v Manica Diamonds (Gibbo), Sheasham v Dynamos (Bata), Hwange v Yadah (Colliery)