Ngezi settle for Akbay

Sports Reporter
EROL AKBAY has bounced back to the domestic Premiership after the Dutchman inked a two-year deal to join league runners-up Ngezi Platinum Stars.

The former Highlanders gaffer takes over as substantive coach after the ambitious platinum miners surprisingly wielded the axe on Tonderai Ndiraya in October, with just five games to go before the end of the season.

Clifton Kadurira has been in charge of the team on an interim basis following the departure of Ndiraya and only managed to salvage five points from a possible 15 in the last five games.

The Mhondoro-based side will be hoping that the coming in of Akbay would help them turn their fortunes in the next season.

Although Akbay’s local agent Denford Mutashu was coy about the move, the miners confirmed the arrival of the Dutchman during their end of year awards ceremony in Mhondoro last night.

“I think that issue should receive attention from the club itself, you may wish to get the club to make the necessary pronouncement. But from our end I understand that there could have been discussions going on. So it’s actually up to the club to then avail the information.

“He is coming back to Zimbabwe, but I am not at liberty to mention the club at the moment. But he is coming back to Zimbabwe for the next season.

“I should be able to make a comprehensive statement tomorrow (today),” said Mutashu.

While Mutashu was reluctant to release information on his client, it is the announcement by Ngezi that should now set Akbay for his second dance with the Premiership after having had a stint at Highlanders.

Akbay’s appointment also ends speculation linking a number of coaches with the Ngezi job.

These included the trio of former Warriors coaches, Callisto Pasuwa, Norman Mapeza and Ian Gorowa.

Some rumours had also tried to link CAPS United’s Lloyd Chitembwe and Mark Harrison of Harare City with the job.

When Akbay quit Bosso at the end of last season he did not rule out a return to the country.

The Dutchman will take up the Ngezi job knowing that his predecessor Ndiraya had done well since joining them upon their promotion into the top flight league in 2016.

Ndiraya led the team to a top-eight finish in their maiden season.

They went on to win the Chibuku Super Cup in the same year, earning a ticket to the CAF Confederation Cup.

However, they crashed out in the second round.

Ngezi had hoped for the Premiership championship this year and following a dream start to their campaign when they went for 13 games without a defeat, it appeared this was going to be their year.

But they lost the plot somewhere along the way and ended the season as the runners-up.