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.