By Ricky Zililo
Gaborone United bound Madinda Ndlovu has recommended that Highlanders give Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu the vacant coaching job until the end of the season, as he is confident his former assistant can take the club to greater heights.
Speaking at his last Press conference as Highlanders coach on Saturday, Ndlovu, who got a better deal from Botswana’s Gaborone United, said continuity is key to the success of the Bosso project which they hope yields results next season.
Ndlovu attributed Highlanders’ slow start to the 2019 season to the pre-season industrial action by players, which saw the team losing about five weeks of training.
“In a nutshell, the project has taken another direction from the setback we had at the beginning of the season. The boys have now turned to the core reasons of the project as seen in the last few games. For me, if the club is going to have continuity, they have to keep the coaches I’ve been working with and let them go with what we’ve been doing. If they do so, goals will be achieved,” said Ndlovu.
“I’m talking from experience. I’ve done it in the past and I know it can be done. In the past, I brought in Rahman Gumbo to be my assistant during the time I was grooming the likes of Thulani “Biya” Ncube and Bekithemba Ndlovu (now Bosso assistant coach). He went on to achieve something that had never been achieved at the club, winning the championship for four consecutive years.
“That time, I recommended that Rahman take over the project we had started. It’s not different now, especially uLulu (Mpofu), who I have been working with from the start of the project to take over. I think he has grasped a lot of tactics, a lot of training methods to carry this project to the end. There are people who will doubt the guys I’m leaving behind, but my wish is that the club gives them a chance to continue until the end of the season and see what comes out of this. These guys are capable of turning the tables. It’s simple, the format is there, the philosophy is there, it’s just a difference of how you apply yourself as an individual in your training sessions.
“But to allay doubts and fear, I’m very confident that this project will yield results at the end of the day. These boys are still young, these boys are growing in confidence, the ball management is fantastic and they’ve bonded into a family. I don’t see the reason why they will not scale greater heights,” said Ndlovu.
The Highlanders legend also expressed his gratitude to the club’s fans.
“I did not face problems with Highlanders’ fans, particularly at Barbourfields. I faced a few problems in Harare where at times there were very nasty encounters with Highlanders’ fans in Harare. Therefore, it’s sad for me to walk away from such kind of supporters who have kept their faith in their team. I really appreciate the support that they gave to me and the team. I mentioned it in my letter to the club that I’ll always appreciate the support I got from all stakeholders,” said Ndlovu.
He hopes to bounce back in another capacity, probably to take up an administrative role at his boyhood club. The Chronicle