Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO City find themselves in a tight spot regarding the future of their coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu.
The local authority side has reportedly been holding meetings in a bid to find a loophole that can be used to terminate Mpofu’s contract.
City, who finished their second Premiership season just a place above the relegation zone following a last day dramatic escape by hammering Bantu Rovers 5-0, are reportedly not happy with how the team performed under Mpofu.
Sources said when City hired Mpofu, they told the gaffer to ensure that the side survives relegation in 2017.
“Mpofu signed a contract which ends in March 2019 and terminating it could prove costly. I think they have since realised that they blundered by not giving Mpofu a contract with performance related clauses. They told him to survive relegation and he did that on the last day of the season. They had agreed that targets will be set for the coach going into his second season, but there is a general feeling at the club that Mpofu’s contract should be terminated,” said the source.
City want trophies and as such are keen on having a high profile coach for next season, but they have to give Mpofu a substantial amount before they hire someone else.
Mpofu’s salary range at City is between $1 500 and $2 000, meaning the club would have to pay in excess of $20 000 to terminate the coach’s contract.
Another dilemma is that City are reportedly still paying former coach Philani Ncube after his contract was terminated last year. Ncube is now at Harare City.
Should they fire Mpofu, it means City’s wage bill will increase as they will pay the new coach as well as the fired duo of Mpofu and Ncube.
City were supposed to meet Mpofu for a review meeting yesterday, with club chairman Jerry Sibanda saying questions relating to the team’s 2017 performances will be answered at a press conference.
“We will soon have a press conference where we will respond to all questions relating to the 2017 season review and our plans for next year,” said Sibanda.
Mpofu declined to comment.
Meanwhile, City players are reportedly owed winning bonuses for eight of their 11 games as well as allowances for six draws. The club is said to pay $150 in winning bonuses per player and $50 for a draw.
All members of the City squad have a salary backlog of three months.