By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Highlanders have warned head coach, Erol Akbay, against making future reckless statements with a potential of inducing a sense of shock and bringing undue tension within the Bosso camp.
The Dutchman told a press conference on Thursday last week before apparently informing his employers that he was not going to renew his contract with the Bulawayo giants when it expires at the end of the year, citing Bosso’s precarious financial position.
Akbay reiterated his position on Sunday evening after an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Harare City at Barbourfields Stadium.
He has, however, indicated that he remained totally committed to the Bosso cause and would fulfil his contractual expectations.
The club ‘whipped’ Akbay into line and ordered him to desist from making unsanctioned statements to the media without following protocol.
“We told Akbay that it’s not in the Highlanders policy to speak to the press first before meeting the executive. His announcement literally demoralised, demotivated and disheartened the players, judging by the poor show displayed by the team on Sunday against Harare City.
“We had to sit him down with him to instill our culture and way of doing things at Highlanders. He understood that he should stick to technical issues only. It’s not too late for wrongs to be righted, so I hope the issue of what to say at press conferences has been resolved amicably,” said Highlanders’ acting chairman Modern Ngwenya.
He said the players are committed to the coach and believe in him, but his shock announcement had a negative psychological effect on them ahead of Sunday’s encounter.
Ngwenya said they were still to get official communication from the coach on his announcement and will not bother looking for a replacement until they get a confirmed position from the Dutchman.
“We have not started hunting for a coach because Akbay has not told us officially that he is not renewing his contract.
“The purpose of our meeting with him was to rebuke him for using a wrong platform to air his grievances. He reports to the executive so any problems he faces should be reported to the executive. We will only start hunting for a new coach once we receive communication from him,” said Ngwenya, an indication that the club was prepared to renew Akbay’s contract.
Ngwenya said despite the ‘slight derailment’ by the coach, the club still believed in his word that he remained committed and they would give him all the support he requires.
“We, however, give him the benefit of the doubt to fulfil his duties with diligence and serious commitment and call upon everyone associated with this great institution to rally behind the coach and the team as we try to win all our remaining games,” said Ngwenya.
Highlanders take on troubled ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga Stadium tomorrow afternoon. The Chronicle