Mathe gets chance to shine


Mark Mathe

Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter

HIGHLANDERS FC will not appoint a substantive coach until the season ends, giving interim coach Mark Mathe a platform to prove his worth after the departure of Kelvin Kaindu.

Speaking for the first time after Kaindu announced his exit from the club last week, Highlanders executive chairman Peter Dube, who had a meeting with the board on Wednesday, said they saw it wise to let Mathe temporarily take over the reigns.

“We’re not bringing in another person as yet because everyone feels that there isn’t much that a new person can do and we’ve to let the guys that’re there take charge of the team until the end of the season where everything will be reviewed. There’re issues like understanding the system as well as players which we felt would’ve taken time for a new person to understand,” said Dube.

This means that those that are eyeing the Highlanders’ hot seat will have to wait a bit longer before they throw in their curriculum vitaes.

Ex-Chicken Inn and How Mine coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube, the Botswana-based duo of Rahman Gumbo and Madinda Ndlovu, Lloyd Mutasa and United Kingdom-based Bongani Mafu, Moses Chunga and Keutsepilemang Ndebele are some of the names that are being touted to take over at Highlanders.

The spotlight will be on Mathe this weekend when the team travels to Harare seeking to complete a double over Caps United who are in the championship race.

The Green Machine will be out for revenge after embarrassingly losing 0-4 to Highlanders in the first leg played at Barbourfields Stadium, a game in which Mathe was in charge of Bosso as the then coach Kaindu was in the UK attending a high level coaching course.

After the Caps United hurdle, Highlanders’ tricky encounters are the city derby against Chicken Inn, top four seeking Hwange (away) and another trip to relegation threatened Shabanie Mine in Week 29.

Bosso are expected to collect maximum points against Chiredzi at home on Week 28 and their final match of the season is against Chapungu.
Dube pleaded with the club’s supporters to rally behind the team as they seek to finish the season strongly.

“We’re grateful to our followers who rally behind the team but they mustn’t throw missiles onto the field as that is bad for the club’s image and it even costs Highlanders. They have to learn to accept results and respect referees’ decisions. If there’re things that they feel are not going accordingly, they are free to visit our offices where they can lodge their grievances in a better manner and we’ll attend to them.

“For now, let’s rally behind the boys and give them the support they need as they work on lifting their game. Only unity among ourselves can take us somewhere, let’s stand up as one family and show the world what we’re capable of,” he said.

On Wednesday’s joint board and executive meeting, Dube said it was a routine gathering that the club holds every second week of the month which was not about Kaindu’s much publicised resignation.

He dismissed as unfounded claims that the Bosso followers were the reason why the Zambian gaffer left.

“The board was in the picture about Kaindu’s resignation and we’ve our own forms of communication with them. Wednesday’s meeting was a scheduled one as we congregate every second Wednesday of each month. The joint board-executive meeting went well, we briefed them about the mutual divorce that we reached with our former coach of which I don’t think we’ve burnt any bridges with him. Everything with Kaindu was done amicably,” he said.

Dube could not be drawn into revealing Kaindu’s exit package which is understood to be at least $18,000.

Kaindu’s stay at the club appeared to create divisions as some members and sympathisers, including certain players, religiously believed in him.
But the players are said to be back in the groove working with commitment and renewed vigour.

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