By Tadious Manyepo
New Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Erol Akbay is expected in the country this week, amid high expectations the Dutch mentor will transform the Mhondoro team into a championship-winning side.
The former Highlanders mentor was appointed in December last year following the sacking of Tonderai Ndiraya two months earlier.
Clifton Kadurira, who was Ndiraya’s assistant, carried the torch on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.
But Akbay has decided not to retain him in his technical team.
Instead, the Dutchman has appointed his former assistant at Bosso, Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu, and ex-FC Platinum coach Tendai Chikuni as his understudies.
The team confirmed the new appointments in a statement yesterday.
“Following the announcement of Erol Akbay as the new head coach of Ngezi Platinum Stars, the club also wishes to announce the appointments of Tendai Chikuni and Cosmas Zulu as assistant coaches to bolster the technical team.
“The technical team has undergone a transformation which will rejuvenate the club and translate into some exciting football on the field of play.
“The board and executive team are confident that the transformation of the technical team will ensure that Ngezi Platinum Stars continue to delight its supporters and sponsors.
“We welcome the new members to the club and wish them well in their new roles,” read the statement.
Kadurira, who guided the team into the top-flight league, has not been discarded as he has been re-deployed into the developmental structures of the ambitious club.
Ngezi were heavily tipped to win the 2018 league title after a flying start to the season which saw them going for the opening 13 matches without defeat.
But, they somehow lost the bite mid-way through the marathon ,and allowed eventual winners FC Platinum to seize the initiative.
Midfielder Walter Mukanga has left and joined Harare City with the club’s 2018 Player of the Year Godknows Murwira electing to play in the CAF Champions League with FC Platinum.
Striker Clive Augusto has signed for Chicken Inn.
Regulars Tichaona Mabvura, Xolisani Moyo and Keith Murera are also reportedly considering their future away from Baobab.
But, it’s not all gloomy as it may appear for the team which has not made it a secret they will be gunning for the title in 2019.
“Akbay (Erol) is arriving in the country to start the pre-season preparations in a few days’ time. We are working on the papers, and they are almost ready. He should be arriving very soon,” said club chairman Jeremiah Gasitene.
He said the team were not in a panic mode even after losing some of their best players.
Left-back Qadr Amini, who spent the entire 2018 on the sidelines while recuperating from a delicate knee operation, has fully recovered and ready for the coming season.
Striker Simba Nhivi, who was fished from CAPS United during the mid-season window last year but got injured before he could represent the miners, returned to action in the final two games of the season.
The club has also been linked with defender Peter Muduwa, whose contract with Highlanders ran out at the end of last year. The Herald