Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
DUTCH coach Erol Akbay sneaked into the country and took charge of Highlanders FC’s Under-19 training session at Crescent Sports Club in Bulawayo’s Parkview suburb yesterday morning.
Bosso chairman Peter Dube, secretary-general Emmett Ndlovu and treasurer Donald Ndebele watched as the Dutchman — widely tipped to take over the reins at the Bulawayo giants — took the players through their paces.
“The Dutch coach attended our training session and members of the executive were there to observe.
“The coaches Dumaza Dube and Mabaleka (Melusi Sibanda) were just observing what he was doing,” said a player.
Last week, Highlanders’ chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede inadvertently announced the arrival of a coach from the Netherlands to watch the remaining four matches of the season.
Akbay arrived in time to watch tomorrow’s league match against Buffaloes at Barbourfields Stadium and will travel with the team to Hwange for Bosso’s next assignment at the Colliery.
Highlanders’ last two games will be against Tsholotsho FC and ZPC Kariba at Barbourfields Stadium.
The Dutchman is also likely to watch the NetOne Easycall Top Eight tournament that Highlanders are participating in.
Reported efforts to get a comment from Gumede yesterday were fruitless as his mobile phone rang unanswered.
It seems the club’s benefactor Tshinga Dube got his way as he is the one who recommended Akbay and took his CV to Bosso for consideration.
Tshinga appears to know Akbay, whom he described as “. . . a good man who’s keen to work in Africa and for him it’s not really about the monetary incentives but also the experience of working in a country like ours and he’ll not be expensive”.
According to his CV that is available online, Akbay is a mere development coach.
The 49-year-old gaffer seems to have beaten his countrymen Hendrick Pieter de Jongh and Clemence Westerhof for the Highlanders’ coaching job.
In his CV, Akbay states that he spent 17-years coaching in the Netherlands’ second tier league. He was also among 39 coaches that applied for the Rwanda national team coach job in February this year.
His CV shows that he first ventured into coaching in 1997, spending two years in charge of Heracles Almelo’s Under-19 team before being asked to take charge of the Under-17s in the 1999/2000 season.
From 2000-2002 the Dutchman was involved in scouting for players from the Under-10 to Under-19 age-groups.
He was then appointed head coach of second division side HVV Hengelo for the 2002/2003 season and led them to a fifth place finish, and also led the club to the semi-finals of a domestic cup.
The following season, he moved to another second division side Barbaros and finished 11th. He then joined another second league side BWO for the 2004/2005 season and led them to a top four finish.
From 2005-2008, Akbay joined Twello, who finished sixth in his first season and fifth and sixth in the following two seasons.
He then moved to Barbaros as a technical advisor between 2008 and 2011. He returned to HVV Hengelo in 2011 as head coach and stayed there for three seasons.
In his three years at the club, he led them to a seventh place finish in the first season and fifth in both the second and third seasons.