Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
SOCCER legend, Madinda “Khathazile” Ndlovu, is reportedly close to joining Bulawayo giants Highlanders as head coach, replacing Dutchman Erol Akbay whose contract expires at the end of the month.
According to sources, Ndlovu has been identified as the “best Highlanders son” that can bring back the glory days to Bosso, who have gone for 11 years without a league title.
The sources said Ndlovu’s manager Hosea George Bhebhe met Highlanders’ officials on Monday to discuss the coach’s terms of engagement.
“His manager was at the club offices on Monday to discuss the way forward. These negotiations have been ongoing and it seems they’re heading in a positive direction. Some of the things Ndlovu’s camp want ironed out include the money Highlanders owe him for his previous stint as well as the composition of his technical team,” said the source.
Highlanders reportedly owe Ndlovu about $40 000 from his previous contract that was terminated in 2009.
Ndlovu was just nine months into his contract when the club decided to part ways with him after 21 games.
Ndlovu is one of the few former Highlanders’ players qualified to coach in Zimbabwe. The other former Bosso sons with Caf A coaching licences are Rahman Gumbo, whose contract with Chicken Inn runs out at the end of the month, unattached Amini Soma-Phiri and national Under-20 coach Bekithemba Ndlovu.
Bekithemba has been Kelvin Kaindu’s assistant at How Mine and with the latter reportedly on his way back to Zambia, the former is among those tipped for the gold miners’ job.
It is, however, believed that Madinda is keen on working with Bekithemba as well as national team goalkeepers’ trainer, Tembo Chuma.
Madinda, a multi-winning championship coach in Botswana, is a firm believer in home-grown talent and giving youngsters an opportunity to shine.
“In as much as the club and the coach want to win trophies, Ndlovu wants to be given assurances that he will rebuild the squad in his first season without any interruptions and then launch a title challenge in his second year in charge,” said the source.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube confirmed “conversations” with Madinda, but dismissed rumours that they had agreed terms.
“Yes, we have had conversations with Madinda Ndlovu, but nothing has been agreed. We have been clear that we will speak with every Highlanders’ son with requisite qualifications for the job and we’re still in the process of checking the availability of one or two former sons. I can tell you that we haven’t spoken to Bekithemba Ndlovu as he is away on national duty with the Young Warriors,” said Dube.
He said they will unveil the coach once they have agreed terms.
Madinda’s manager Bhebhe said: “At the moment there’s nothing concrete. We will advise you in due course.”