Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A COACHING crisis is looming at Highlanders following reports that head coach Erol Akbay and goalkeepers’ trainer Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu boycotted yesterday’s press conference in protest over outstanding allowances.
A source said Bosso owe the Dutchman a significant amount of money dating back to last season and the gaffer is frustrated at the executive’s snail pace in resolving the issue.
Akbay took charge of yesterday’s training session, but was conspicuous by his absence at the weekly press briefing that was addressed by acting chairman Modern Ngwenya and the 2016 Players’ Player of the Year Rahman Kutsanzira.
“The coach is trying to force the club to deal with his matter. He is owed some money which he had been promised on his return, but nothing has come through. He even threatened not to attend training sessions next week if his matter is not addressed. Even Tsano is yet to receive his January pay,” said a source.
Akbay was, however, diplomatic in his response, acknowledging that Bosso owes him some money.
Akbay, who returned from his native Netherlands at the beginning of the month, told Chronicle Sport yesterday that he is a “frustrated” man.
“It’s not the money issue that made me miss the press conference. Of course, we spoke about money with the club, which I think is normal. To be honest, I’m frustrated because they promised that when I come back all the issues to do with my money will be catered for, but I’m here and it seems everything is being delayed. I hope they sort me out next week,” said Akbay.
He declined to comment further, saying the ball is now in Highlanders’ court.
Bosso are in a financial fix and their debt, which is over $800 000, is likely to increase following the reduction of their sponsorship deal by BancABC.
Highlanders’ primary sponsors reduced the sponsorship package by half to $200 000 for the 2017 season.
Donald Ndebele, Highlanders’ treasurer, confirmed that the club owes Akbay and said efforts are being made to clear his dues.
Ndebele said because of the reduction of BancABC’s sponsorship, Highlanders will continue having shortfalls in terms of their salary bill.
“It is true that there are outstanding allowances we owe the coach and we’re working on clearing that. I’m not sure why he didn’t come for the press conference, but I doubt it has anything to do with the outstanding amounts,” said Ndebele.
“As for the issue of some members of the team yet to receive salaries, the truth is we’re looking for money to clear them.
“Last year salaries gobbled $340 000 and right now we have $185 000, which means the club has to look for the difference, which is $155 000. We will continue working hard and knocking on doors in our efforts to raise funds to keep the club going,” Ndebele said.