HIGHLANDERS are continuously shooting themselves in the foot due to their knack of hiring expensive foreign coaches at the expense of locals, club legend Tobias Mudyambanje has warned the Bulawayo giants.
Dating back to the pre-independence days, Bosso have always had an affinity for employing expatriates dating back to the days Northern Irishman Tony McIlveen was in charge at Barbourfields Stadium.
Former Scottish goalkeeper Bobby Clark continued the trend but it was probably Englishman Eddie May, who engrained the love of foreign coaches at the Bulawayo giants.
Under May, Bosso won two consecutive league titles at the turn of the millennium and from there on, numerous foreigners also came on board.
Zambians Dick Chama and Freddie Mwila also had stints with the Bulawayo giants and were then followed by Egyptian Mohamed Fathy.
Then in 2011, Bosso lured their former player Kelvin Kaindu to be in charge of the team and he led them to two consecutive second-place finishes.
Dutchman Erol Akbay was the next foreign coach to take over at Bosso in 2017 and lasted only a season.
Then last season, another Dutchman Hendrikus Pieter de Jongh had a short stint with the club and led them to the Chibuku Super Cup glory.
After de Jongh jumped ship to join FC Platinum, Highlanders settled for Englishman Mark Harrison at the start of the year.
Although the foreign coaches have brought relative success, Highlanders have constantly struggled to meet their financial demands due to the volatile Zimbabwean economy which makes foreign currency scarce.
In the past, it has created problems for the club as some of the coaches have downed tools when Bosso failed to meet their contractual obligations.
After appointing Harrison, Bosso had made an arrangement with a benefactor to cater for his salary and upkeep.
However, due to the global impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the benefactor is no longer able to meet the demands of Harrison’s contract.
As a result, Highlanders and the Briton had to suspend the contract due to the uncertainty brought about by Covid-19.
Mudyambanje, who was a lethal forward during his playing days, feels Highlanders are always in a financial quagmire by employing foreign coaches.
“The fact is why we have to look for expensive things when we don’t have the money? Yes, we might want foreign coaches with new ideas but do our finances allow us to do so?
“It’s very difficult to have a foreign coach under this economic situation because we will obviously have to pay that person using foreign currency which is hard to come by; in the end the team will have to survive by extending a begging bowl, which is not healthy,” Mudyambanje told the Daily News yesterday.
Highlanders fans have on a number of occasions mooted crowd-funding exercises as part of their efforts to help the country’s oldest football club clear a crippling debt that is believed to be at around $1 million.
“There are good local coaches who can help build a strong Bosso that can conquer the domestic league,” Mudyambanje said.
“What I can advise my team is to have unity of purpose, give local coaches a chance and avoid the hiring and firing of coaches unnecessarily so that our team remains stable because remember every coach comes with his own philosophy.”
Since time immemorial, Highlanders prided themselves in unearthing young talent from their junior ranks which saw the likes of the Ndlovu brothers — Peter, Adam (late) and Madinda — star for the club.
Probably Knox Mutizwa, Prince Dube and Andrew Mbeba are probably the few breakout stars from the Bosso conveyor belt in recent years.
“They (the club) have failed to recognise the development side for years. There was a side that played and beat Dynamos but despite the youngsters showing their talents and skills only a few graduated into the first team,’’
“I hope the team looks into the issue because the youngsters are the backbone of the team. If they don’t do that; trust me Bosso will go the Zimbabwe Saints way.”