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NEW Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu has been given the leeway to play a key role in picking his backroom staff which is normally done by the club’s executive. Highlanders chairman Peter Dube told guests at the coach’s unveling ceremony that although the club’s constitution gave the executive the mandate to choose assistant coaches, Mafu would have a say in who will constitute his backroom staff.

Dube said the Bosso constitution was clear on the appointment of a head coach’s assistants. It is the prerogative of the executive to appoint the coach’s assistants but however, the new coach will have a say.

Most clubs like Orlando Pirates have kept the likes of Tebogo Moloi for years. Several coaches have worked with him as he is strategic in ensuring the club culture is retained.

Clubs have increasingly been fleeced by coaches with mercenary attitudes who employ their sidekicks for a cut in their earnings. This leaves the club to lose when the entire coaching department is fired.

Some of the assistants’ allegiance tends to be towards an individual not their consciences nor the club and game of football. Dube allayed fears that Mafu would have assistants thrown at him when he said they would work with the coach in that regard.

The move has opened another round of jostling for the assistant coach and goalkeepers’ trainer’s jobs.

Another post that has fallen vacant in the first and reserve team is that of team manager.

Until last week Mark Mathe was the interim coach with Cosmas Zulu aising him. Willard Khumalo was team manager and Peter Nkomo the goalkeepers’ coach. Following a near disastrous finish the need for new brooms at Bosso arose with Highlanders aertising for a technical manager position which has since been filled by Mafu on a season’s contract.

However the club’s sincerity in giving him a 12-month deal has been questioned. People are worried why veteran administrators involved in the deal Andrew Tapela the club secretary and Ndumiso Gumede, the chief executive officer opted for a lopsided deal which does not give the coach the latitude to assemble a team for the future.

Short contracts have often led to coaches hiring older players most of them with a mercenary agenda.

Asked yesterday who his assistants would be, Mafu said he was still consulting and would get back to the executive once he had done a thorough search.

“All I want is to get started. Getting the right lieutenants is not an overnight job. I was engaged 24 hours ago and before my focus shift on landing the job am already trying to identify the personnel to work with.

“At the end it won’t be Mafu but it would have to be people who share the same vision with the club and myself.

When the right time comes I will submit my shortlist to the club for its consideration and I will be professional with the whole exercise,” Mafu said.

With few former Highlanders players having the right coaching credentials unlike Dynamos where its sons can coach the whole Premiership, Mafu’s job could be easier. He is under pressure though to play his cards carefully and come up with a former player to be part of his assistants. Mafu needs someone with a clue on the Highlanders culture and politics as plunging into the unknown could be a disaster at a time polarisation at the institution is at its peak. So many of the club’s former players have vested interests mostly to do with personal gain than aancing the Bosso cause.

Bekithemba Ndlovu, Amin Soma-Phiri, Dazzy Kapenya, Mandla Mpofu and Dumaza Dube are some of the former players who could be considered for the roles at the club.

Ndlovu, Mpofu and Dumaza Dube hold CAF qualifications.

Dube however could be retained as juniors’ coach as he has done well before with his players expected to dominate the 2016 squad at the end of a development cycle he has been working on.

He is among a few development coaches with comprehensive programmes that can be followed to the letter and reviewed against set targets that are tangible.

Source : The Herald