HIGHLANDERS’ team manager Amin Soma-Phiri is facing the axe following allegations that he sabotaged the team during the just-ended season.
REPORT BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Club legend Willard Khumalo is tipped to take over from Phiri, who is reportedly now viewed as a mercenary at the club after allegedly instigating a players’ strike in October.
Phiri is said to have led a player-revolt over an outstanding winning bonus and even took some players to play social soccer in Gwanda during the strike.
Relations between Phiri and coach Kelvin Kaindu are said to be strained after the former’s influence on some players he coached at junior level.
Phiri however, dismissed sabotage allegations but confirmed that his future at Highlanders was not certain.
“I am not sure if I am going to continue at Highlanders next season. It is high time that someone takes over as manager. The club has many former players who can perform that duty,” said Phiri.
“I have some projects outside football to take care of. This season when I was with the team, some of my personal businesses were always unattended. I think I did my best for the club and we were the most disciplined team. I am a Highlanders person through and through. Even if I am outside football, my assistance will always be available.”
Club chairman Peter Dube could neither confirm nor deny Phiri’s imminent departure.
“No decision has been made by the executive committee on him [Phiri] as yet. The executive committee is the one which will decide and we will let you know of any development,” said Dube.
Club sources said Phiri and Kaindu’s differences also stemmed from their different religions.
Kaindu is a devout Christian while Phiri is a Moslem and does not perform pre-match rituals together with the team.
“Phiri does not even celebrate or smile when a goal is scored. People have interpreted that as not being happy at the club,” said the sources.
However, Phiri’s intended replacement Khumalo, who once had a stint with Central Region outfit Strikers FC is said to have been also offered a coaching job at premiership debutantes Tripple B and other lower Division clubs in the country.