By Godknows Matarutse
Outgoing Highlanders coach Erol Akbay says he is open to joining another local club when his contract comes to an end later this year.
The Dutchman is in the last five months of his two-year contract which gives him the right to negotiate with another club even though he is still employed by Bosso.
If a player or coach enters the last six months of an existing contract, he/she will virtually be a free agent and can negotiate with another club without violating any football statutes.
“Yes, of course, if you are not going to renew your contract, it means you are open to everything, including local Premiership teams. I’m prepared to negotiate with whoever is willing to take me on board,” Akbay told the Daily News.
“I can’t really say there is any team of choice for now but it’s about the total package, what is the club offering? What is certain though is that I will not be at Highlanders next season.”
Akbay, who led the Bulawayo giants to a third place finish in his first year in local football last season, decided against renewing his contract with Bosso due to the precarious financial situation at the club.
“I will stop being coach of Highlanders at the end of this year. I don’t know what I will do but I will stop coaching this club at the end of the year,” the Dutchman said last week.
“There are a lot of reasons but the biggest is the financial situation for me. That’s why it is not possible anymore to work for Highlanders.”
Bosso’s financial problems started at the beginning of the year when their principal sponsor, BancABC, significantly reduced its funding to the club.
In April, Akbay missed a number of training sessions after going on strike following the non-payment of his signing-on fees.
The coach finally returned to training but since then it was evident that the relationship between coach and club had been affected.
Since the coach announced that he would be walking away at the end of the year, the Bosso hierarchy on Monday held a meeting with Akbay.
The club was clearly not pleased that the Dutchman had announced his intention to leave the club and censured him for “failing to follow protocol” according to Bosso acting-chairperson Morden Ngwenya.
With friction between Akbay and the Bosso leadership, it is going to be interesting to see how it is going to affect the team on the pitch.
The Bulawayo giants appear to have taken a dip in form in recent weeks which has seen them sort of fade away in the Castle Lager Premiership title race.
Bosso are currently in sixth place on the log with 32 points and trail leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars by eight points.
At the weekend, Highlanders were held to a goalless draw by an improving Harare City side at Barbourfields Stadium.
This afternoon Highlanders travel to Nyamhunga Stadium to face an inconsistent ZPC Kariba side.
ZPC coach Sunday Chidzambwa threatened to quit his post at the weekend after watching his side’s awful performance in the 1-0 loss to CAPS United.
Today: ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga), Tsholotsho v CAPS United (Luveve). Daily News