Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Highlanders executive is deeply divided on whether or not to sign temperamental former Dynamos hitman Rodrick Mutuma, who trained with the Bulawayo giants yesterday morning.
Sources said club treasurer Donald Ndebele and secretary-general Emmett Ndlovu are against signing the wayward forward, while acting chairman Modern Ngwenya and committee member Wisdom Mabhena want Mutuma.
The anti-Mutuma camp is pointing to the striker’s wayward behaviour despite coach Erol Akbay declaring that he would deal with it.
Ngwenya rubbished claims of division within the executive over Mutuma, insisting that negotiations with the player are still in progress.
He said the Bosso coach first wanted to have a look at him in action before coming up with a concrete position.
“The coach has openly told us that he wants the boy although he needed to see him first which he has done today, so we will stand guided by his input,” said Ngwenya.
Akbay expressed satisfaction with the lanky Mutuma after a two-hour training session at Barbourfields Stadium, with the Dutchman boldly declaring, “keep this guy, he fits into our high tempo football”.
He was responding to questions from the media following the training session after being asked about what his recommendation to the Highlanders’ leadership on Mutuma would be.
The Dutchman also said he would have wanted big Francesco Zekumbawire, as he felt his combination with Mutuma would be ideal for Highlanders who are eyeing their first Premiership title in 11 years this year.
“The two guys would have been perfect for us; one has speed and aggression, while the other’s precision in front of goal is superb. Unfortunately, Zekumbawire has since signed for ZPC Kariba, but I hope we will be able to sign Mutuma,” said Akbay.
A source said if results do not come their way, Akbay and his technical team can always argue that the executive failed to give them the players they wanted after Gift Mbweti, who was top of his wish list, ended up at FC Platinum and Zekumbawire joined ZPC Kariba.
Well placed sources within the Highlanders’ system however, said Mutuma could become a victim of football politics involving the continued suspension of club chairman Peter Dube by Zifa.
“It’s a clear case of flexing muscles here at the expense of Highlanders. We have third forces that are sympathetic to Dube and believe Zifa are punishing Highlanders, but how does the puzzle come together? Mutuma stays with a city businessman who is also close to Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda and those sympathetic to Dube are unhappy with that set up as they believe Sibanda is failing to use his influence to have Dube’s suspension lifted — a misplaced wish if you ask me — because Sibanda can’t make that decision as an individual,” said the source.