Soma-Phiri ‘refuses’ to commit to Highlanders

Amini Soma-Phiri

Amini Soma-Phiri

Geophrey Sifani Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS’ interim coach Amini Soma-Phiri met with the club’s chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede yesterday after missing the first day of pre-season training on Tuesday, but his availability to continue temporarily in the caretaker role remains unclear.

Soma-Phiri and interim technical advisor Cosmas Zulu were in charge of Bosso’s last 12 games of 2015 and were tasked to continue while the club’s preferred foreign coach Erol Akbay’s work permit is being processed.

However, only Zulu was at the club’s pre-season opener at Barbourfields Stadium’s B arena on Tuesday where he was barking instructions with the assistance of Highlanders’ newly promoted Division One side coach Melusi Sibanda and Highlanders Academy manager Marko Dube.

Soma-Phiri had not communicated with the Highlanders’ leadership since going on a two-week attachment with South African National First Division side Moroka Swallows.

Gumede said Soma-Phiri had made a pit-stop at the club’s offices yesterday, but could not say if he had agreed to hold fort until the arrival of Akbay.

“He came to the office in the morning today (yesterday). He was collecting a letter for the cost areas of his involvement and outstanding payment for the bonuses for our Hwange trip. The letter was referral to what he had written to us, but all was settled when he was in South Africa,” said Gumede.

“The wishes of the executive are that the technical team continues, so if he has taken the letter and gone to his house, he will talk to his wife and it’s up to him to come back and take his position or his wife will advise him otherwise. He still has a constituency to consider.”

Gumede also revealed that the processing of Akbay’s work permit will take longer than expected as the Dutchman had sent them uncertified copies of documentation required by the Immigration Department.

“We’re now waiting for his certified papers. He sent all the papers, but they were not certified, so we sent them back and asked him to forward us certified copies and to also attach a police clearance from his country. Until such time we get those papers, I will not answer questions on that subject. It will remain status unchanged,” Gumede said.

He also dismissed rumours doing the rounds that Akbay had indicated to the club that he only wanted to work with a select squad of players aged 22 years and below.

“Erol’s communication is known to me first. We don’t know about such terms. I possess no document that states he wants players of the stipulated ages,” said Gumede.

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  • Mariko

    Gumede must stop behaving like a social soccer club official. His utterances reflect those of a person who does not posses leadership qualities. What is he saying about Amini’s wife and where does she come in in this whole issue? Unless if Amini told him that he needs to consult his wife first, then Gumede is misfiring. The way he talks it looks like he does not like Amini. He must learn from other CEOs how they conduct business. By the way, is Gumede the CEO and the mouthpiece of the club at the same time? If that is the case then something is wrong with whole set up. One other thing is that he failed to tell this Dutchman the documents that are needed by the Immigration Department in order to process his work permit. Why did the Dutchman send uncertified copies of his documents in the first place? Why didn’t Gumede tell him that a police clearance is needed together with other documents in the first instance? To say the truth this man is letting the team down and it would not come as a surprise if this Dutchman fails to come forever. And if that happens “uGumede uzakuyancenga umfazi ka Amini ukuthi uAmini esebenze”. Gumde khula and be professiona. Gone are the days where you used to shout obscenities to the likes of oKhumalo be Saints. Today’s administration demands more action and less talk.