By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders legend Madinda Ndlovu has bounced back at the club, taking up the role of junior development technical director, club chairman Kenneth Mhlophe said yesterday.
The Bosso great, known for his promotion of junior players groomed by the club, will head a juniors’ technical team whose line-up will be made up of former Bosso wingers Gift Lunga Jr, Siza Khoza and Dan Ngwenya.
Ndlovu, who stepped down as Bosso first team coach in June 2019 to take up the head coach job at Gaborone United in Botswana, suffered a stroke in September 2019.
Mhlope said Ndlovu has since recovered and the club decided to engage him in a less strenuous role.
He said when Ndlovu became head coach in 2018, he promoted 12 junior players and from that list, only two, Andrew Mbeba and Mbongeni Ndlovu managed to exert themselves in the senior team.
Mbeba came from the Under-18s while Ndlovu was promoted from the Division One side.
Then, Ndlovu was leading a Bosso project whose focus was on promoting players groomed by the club’s junior development.
The celebrated Bosso legend had been mandated to infuse the Highlanders culture and style.
Mhlophe said the return of Ndlovu is a continuation of the project he was leading as head coach of the first team and the only difference is that this time around he’ll come up with programmes that ensure juniors that graduate into senior team fit in easily.
“What we’ve always envisaged is for the Bosso-90 development side to be made up of purely Under-20 players that will take up the Under-20 slots in the first team. So it means those playing in the development side will be 19 years or under. Ndlovu and his team will then come up with programmes that entail development from the 15-year age group up to the Under-19s so that a player is ready for promotion,” said Mhlophe.
He said having players that are over 20 years old in Bosso-90 will dent the process of grooming complete juniors.
“It will mean that those old players that can’t be registered in the Under-20 PSL slots have to be loaned out. So I believe in Madinda Ndlovu, we found someone gifted in talent identification and grooming.
Our hope is that through their appointments, these junior coaches will be able to close the gap that has seen few players from the junior sides being promoted into the first team,” said Mhlope.
He said what they had discovered is that players that came from the development side and failed to make it into the senior team could not cope with certain drills.
“We believe that Madinda and his team will give them adequate training that will make them complete players by the time they’re promoted into the senior team,” said Mhlophe. The Chronicle