Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
AMINI Soma-Phiri might bounce back as Highlanders’ interim coach as the club continues their search for a substantive gaffer following the sacking of Mandla Mpofu, impeccable sources said.
In 2015, Soma-Phiri capped his short stint as Highlanders’ interim coach in style, beating league champions Chicken Inn 1-0 to win the NetOne top-eight sponsored Easycall Cup final.
He had been brought in with Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu and Sibanda to save the club after axing of the Bongani Mafu-led technical team, which included Mpofu, Peter “Captain Oxo” Nkomo and welfare manager Netsai Moyo.
Soma-Phiri went on to work under Dutch expatriate Erol Akbay before stepping down.
Bosso rang technical changes at the beginning of the week, severing ties with Mpofu, his assistant Bekithemba Ndlovu and goalkeepers’ trainer Julius Ndlovu, with Joel Luphahla who joined the club in March, being the only survivor.
The club had also fired welfare manager Vezigama Dlodlo but reportedly reversed the decision after learning that his contract stipulated that he does not interfere with the technical team’s duties.
Soma-Phiri could be brought back to mop up and save Bosso again.
Bosso have been linked with South Africa’s Gavin Hunt and Kelvin Kaindu.
Club sources said the chances of getting former Kaizer Chiefs gaffer Hunt are minimal after the South African told a local daily that no contact had been made by Highlanders.
The impeccable sources revealed that Hunt was demanding a US$10 000 sign-on fee, a US$10 000 salary, a car that the club fuels and fully paid accommodation among other perks.
With such demands, which also includes the coach bringing his backroom staff, Highlanders leadership are in a fix as sources confided that some of the club benefactors who bankrolled Erol Akbay, Pieter De Jongh and Mark Harrison’s salaries and accommodation have taken a backseat in Bosso’s activities.
The trio of Akbay, De Jongh and Harrison’s perks were between US$3 000 and US$4 500.
It is highly unlikely that Highlanders’ principal sponsors, Sakunda Holdings, will be willing to foot a bill above
US$10 000 and there are fears in the club’s top hierarchy that bringing an expatriate beyond their reach could see Bosso accumulating debts.
There were reports also linking former coach Kaindu to the job. Concerns were raised that Luphahla doesn’t have requisite qualifications to sit at the dugout but an executive member allayed those fears saying Zifa granted Soma-Phiri a waiver sometime back.
“Soma-Phiri has in the past held an interim coach’s job and there is a feeling that he is best suited to lead the team on that basis while the club continues a search for a substantive coach. In the meantime, Joel Luphahla and Melusi
Sibanda are training the boys and with league games resuming next weekend, a decision has to be made,” said a source.
Repeated efforts to get comments from the club were fruitless.
Highlanders travel to ZPC Kariba for their next league match. — @ZililoR