Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS coach Kelvin Kaindu has has denied claims that he offered to step down during their usual Monday meetings after the penalty shootout loss to city rivals How Mine in the One Wallet Cup two weeks ago.Bosso were booted out despite taking a first half lead through a long range shot from Felix Chindungwe.
Well placed sources said following the loss, the executive had grilled the coach about his tactical ingenuity and failure to instil confidence in the Highlanders family.
“Kaindu actually told the executive that if they had lost confidence in him he would rather step down from the helm,” said the source.
Asked about the threat, Kaindu said there was nothing like that but admitted that football was a pressure game, whether one wins or loses.
“No, I never threatened to quit the club but yes, there is always pressure especially at a big club like Highlanders,” he said.
Despite enjoying sound sponsorship, Kaindu has achieved very little at the club, coming twice as runner up to Dynamos in the league title and getting booted out in most cup tournaments save for the 3-0 win over How Mine in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final last season.
Under his stewardship, Bosso have lost a potential of well over $300,000 in prizemoney, this coming against a background of the club’s huge debts.
With little or nothing in terms of sponsorship, Methembe Mdlovu led Highlanders to a league title triumph in 2006.
Meanwhile, Kaindu has refuted widely held claims that some officials within the club’s power echelons were imposing players on him, a move that has seen the club signing average or below average players.
Since the arrival of Kaindu in 2012, Bosso have not signed an impact player who can impose himself in the starting line-up and deliver save for those who arrived at the same time as him who include Mthulisi Maphosa, Peter Rio Moyo, Milton Ncube and Munyaradzi Diya.
The worst case scenario was probably last season when the club brought in little known Tinashe Chipunza and Master Masitara from Botswana.
The two players had less than 90 minutes of game time combined.
“The buck starts and finishes with me, there is no one who is imposing players on us, we do the recommendations ourselves,” said Kaindu in an interview with this publication last Thursday.
He concurred that some of the boys brought in have failed to live up to expectations hence the belief among supporters that the players were not his choice but impositions from the executive, former players and some player agents.
“We do the recommendations ourselves, as for Dephistara, the boy played so well against us but knowing that most players put up an extra effort when playing Highlanders we asked some people to monitor his performance against other teams as well and the report we got was that of consistency in his performance,” said Kaindu.
On Munyaradzi King Nadolo, a former Churchill High School pupil, Kaindu said the boy came on his own for trials and on the first day, they concluded that he was a worthy investment.
“We never doubted his ability from the very first day,” he said.
Asked to comment on the reasons for the rejection of returning former player Hloniphani Ndebele, the Zambian said Ndebele was a good player who could fit into any team but they looked at his age which was a major contributory factor.
He is not the first player to come to Bosso aged over 30 as Njabulo Ncube, who the technical team begged the executive to take back from FC Platinum, is 32, two years older than the skillful Ndebele, a product of the club’s junior programme.
“With players like Innocent Mapuranga and Felix Chindungwe, we could have been going around in circles so we wanted to maintain a future team,” he said.
Another defender Dumisani Fazo Ndlovu, the young brother of former captain Bekithemba Ndlovu, is 30.
Highlanders have failed to attract top quality players, but instead they have brought in fringe players who have gone on to increase the club’s salary bill.
What has riled supporters is the coaches’ failure to identify better talent even from Premier Soccer League clubs.
Some have suggested that the club would rather promote its juniors to the first team instead of engaging poor performing imports.
Kaindu remained hopeful that once the club licensing requirements become fully implemented, coaches will have the freedom of setting up their budget for player acquisition.