Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter—
THE Highlanders leadership has come under scathing attack from a former executive member who blames the problems bedevilling the team on the Peter Dube-led executive. The executive stands accused of interfering with the work of former coach Kelvin Kaindu leading to his recent resignation after a 1-3 home loss to new boys ZPC Kariba at Hartsfield Ground.
Former committee member Wisdom Mabhena said:
“People might talk and talk but the honest truth is that the executive has more logs in their eyes than everyone else. I know for certain that they were interfering with Kaindu’s work in terms of buying players for him.”
The former club marshal and committee member said this in an unsolicitated interview with Chronicle Sport after Highlanders’ 3-0 annihilation by Harare City in the Chibuku Super Cup semi-final played at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
Mabhena also questioned why the executive chose backroom staff for the Zambian and questioned why welfare manager Amin Soma Phiri’s contract was not renewed. Indiscipline among Highlanders players has been cited as part of the reasons the team is performing dismally.
“We are beginning to suspect that all what these guys were concerned with was to get rid of everything and everyone that was put up by former chairman Themba Ndlela. What wrong did Tembo Chuma do at Highlanders? He had a goalkeeper in the prestigious Soccer Stars of the Year calendar on two consecutive seasons and this year without doubt his goalkeeper Tendai Hove will make it into the calendar again, but they got rid of such talent simply because of egos,” fumed Mabhena.
Chuma is now goalkeepers’ coach at ZPC Kariba and Hove is the club’s first choice goalminder.
Mabhena however, said there was no need for the executive to resign now. They must, instead “finish up their mess” and wait for elections next year.
“Now Kaindu has finally gone but we continue losing games, we are out of the Chibuku Cup, certainly out of the league title and within the next few days, we are losing that number four position which guarantees us a semi-final spot in the Mbada Diamonds Cup,” said Mabhena.
He asked whose project it was that saw players like Tinashe Chipunza and Master Masitara joining Highlanders in the absence of Kaindu. “Those guys were playing in the Botswana league. Where did Kaindu see them? It’s clear someone else had his hands on it. I know for certain that Kaindu did not want Bhekimpilo Ncube and Lawson Nkomo to go but they went,” said Mabhena who was part of the executive that hired Kaindu.
The Zambian yesterday refused to comment on the allegations that the executive interfered with his work. He said he will speak on his stay with the Bulawayo giants at the appropriate time.
“For now let me please rest. I will say it all at the appropriate time. I love Highlanders,” he said from his homeland.
Efforts to contact Highlanders chairman Dube were in vain as his mobile phone went on voice mail for the better part of yesterday but chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede rubbished the claims.
“Those are lies, there is no executive member who has ever imposed players on the technical team. I can show you minutes of our meetings where members of the executive would constantly ask which players the technical team needed,” said Gumede.
Highlanders last week hired veteran coach Cosmos Zulu to assist the Mark Mathe-led bench but he (Zulu) too seemed clueless as Harare City ran riot on Sunday afternoon, beating them 3-0 in the Chibuku Super Cup semi-final.
Amahlolanyama will now have to regroup and prepare for their next assignment against Chicken Inn in a derby before heading for the Colliery to face Nation Dube’s Hwange.