HIGHLANDERS are stuck with Dutch coach Erol Akbay, at least for now!
The Dutchman is adamant he won’t resign and will see through his contract even if results continue to elude him.
Akbay made the shock announcement a fortnight ago that he will not be renewing his contract with Highlanders when it expires at the end of the season.
The August 3 decision to “surprise” his employers at a press conference, has resulted in club supporters doubting Akbay’s commitment, with most calling for Bosso to part ways with the Dutchman and find a replacement whose heart is with the club, since it’s crystal clear that the team is now out of the title race.
Since announcing his intentions to leave Highlanders, Akbay is yet to win a match in three outings.
Bosso drew 0-0 at home against Harare City and lost 0-2 away to ZPC Kariba in league matches. They were then clobbered 3-0 by a Zimbabwe Defence Forces Select on Tuesday, a day after their developmental side Bosso 90 had beaten Dynamos 2-0 in a Heroes’ Day celebratory match. Melusi Sibanda and Siza Khoza were in charge of the developmental side that beat Dynamos. At the club’s annual presser on Thursday, Akbay boldly declared that he is not going anywhere before his contract expires.
He admitted that the last few weeks had been tough, with his charges failing to play according “to a style I want” and need to find their mojo soon.
“The last few weeks things have not been going according to plan. We’re still looking for a right style to play and we hope to find it fast. Our strikers haven’t been scoring and now we’re trying to get our midfielders to get us goals,” said Akbay.
The Dutchman has no idea when he will get his formula right.
“I don’t know when we will get the solution, but we have no time. We’ve been trying to get it right for some time now,” he said.
Akbay needs a miracle to get Highlanders back into title contention after seeing his charges putting up a lifeless show against Harare City and ZPC Kariba.
With 14 games left before the season ends, Highlanders are sixth with 32 points from 20 outings and trail leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars by 11 points.
The two results against Harare City and ZPC Kariba have all but confirmed another year without the league title since 2006 under Methembe Ndlovu.
Akbay led Bosso to a third place finish in the first of his two-year contract last season with 17 wins, five draws and eight losses.
“I’m not a coach who gives up. I will never quit because I feel everything is possible. The teams at the top may struggle and I think we still have a chance.
My focus is on how best I can get the best formation and a strong team. I will be happy if we finish in the top four or even position five, as long as we play good football,” said Akbay.
Meanwhile, Highlanders have asked their supporters to rally behind the team during their bad spell.
“As a club, we understand the pain our supporters are going through when the team doesn’t do well. We’re not taking the team’s performance for granted and means are being done to keep the players motivated. Going through bad patches happens in football and it is our hope that results will be turned around,” said Nhlanhla Dube, the Highlanders chief executive officer.
About hiring a coach who will build for the new season seeing that Akbay has failed to deliver the title in two seasons, Dube said: “It is difficult to terminate his contract because we have to abide by the terms and conditions of terminating the contract. We will have to meet the financial terms of terminating the contract, and this brings up the issue of affordability.”
Simply put, Highlanders don’t have the financial capacity to fire Akbay and for now, their supporters have to bear the torture of watching their opponents smiling while they pray for better days.
Bulawayo24 News – Sports