HIGHLANDERS head coach Erol Akbay yesterday reportedly submitted a letter to his bosses in which he says he is being sabotaged in his work amid reports the Premier Soccer League club was due to suspend him following a string of poor results, a source has revealed.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The source said the Dutchman wrote the letter to the executive committee alleging sabotage by one of the members of his technical team.
A regular Monday meeting to review the weekend game, a 3-0 defeat away to Ngezi, which was supposed to have started by midday at which he was to be handed his suspension letter, began two hours late.
It appears the Dutchman took the Highlanders executive committee by surprise.
Akbay and his assistant Amini Soma-Phiri were seen arriving at the club offices just after 2pm for the meeting, which stretched until late into the evening.
However, club acting chairman Modern Ngwenya late yesterday dismissed the assertions that Akbay was facing suspension, but confirmed the meeting was still in progress.
“It is not true that we were going to suspend the coach and where did you hear that about any letter by the coach. You can ask the chief executive officer (Nhlanhla Dube). The meeting is ongoing. I just went out, but I am going back. Today you won’t get much even from the CEO because the meeting is still on,” Ngwenya said.
Highlanders have gone on a lean spell in the second half of the season, with four losses to Bulawayo City, ZPC Kariba, Tsholotsho and lately to Ngezi.
The fading Bulawayo giants have only managed one win in the second half of the season, beating Shabanie 2-0 at Maglas.
Following the midweek loss to Tsholotsho at Barbourfields last Wednesday, the Highlanders executive committee held another meeting with the coaches and the team captains Erick Mudzingwa, Rahman Kutsanzira and Ariel Sibanda.
Although Akbay has previously attributed the poor performance to lack of firepower upfront after the departure of striker Prince Dube and Ralph Matema in mid-season, the latest allegations have brought in a new twist to the crisis.
Earlier in the first half of the season, Highlanders suspended Soma-Phiri and goalkeepers’ coach Cosmas Zulu before they were arraigned before a disciplinary committee on charges of indiscipline.
The Highlanders leadership charged the two with indiscipline for insulting each other in front of players in Zvishavane and for another spat in Harare during a match in which Bosso lost 3-0 to Black Rhinos.
During their suspension, Akbay single-handedly took charge of the team in three matches.
Following the disciplinary hearing, Zulu was demoted to the junior structures with Peter Nkomo bouncing back as goalkeepers’ coach while Soma-Phiri was spared and reinstated to his position, but things have not been going well for Highlanders on the field of play as they are gradually falling away from the championship race.