Zimbabwe’s two top soccer clubs, Highlanders and Dynamos, have hired international coaches in an effort to boost their chances of winning this year’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Highlanders have hired Dutch coach Elroy Akbay, who arrived in Bulawayo early this week and met with team officials for a detailed brief on his mission.
Akbay says he is happy to be in Zimbabwe where he will be with the Bulawayo soccer giants for an unspecified period.
The club’s chief executive officer, Ndumiso Gumede, says the new coach has been monitoring the Highlanders squad on the training field.
Gumede is optimistic that the coach will do his best for the club, which has been struggling on the field of play in the last few years.
He urges Highlanders Football Club followers to back the coach.
Akbay will be assisted by former Highlanders player and interim coach, Amini Soma-Phiri, and former technical advisor, Cosmas Zulu, who were called in last year to save the club from relegation after Bosso fired gauffer, Bongani Mafu.
Highlanders last won the premier soccer league title in 2006 under coach Methembe Ndlovu and many are questioning if this new coach will bring back the trophy to Bulawayo this season.
At the same time, Dynamos fans say they are looking forward to the new season when new coach Paulo Jorge Silva of Brazil will showcase his talent and assist in bringing the championship back to the club.
The Glamour Boys surrendered the Premier Soccer League title last year to Chicken Inn, affectionately known as the Gamecocks, after dominating the championship for a couple of years.
Dembare fan, Fabian Mahembe, says he is impressed that the new coach has indicated that he will be hiring three players on a “free loan” from Europe that are expected to boost the current team.
Mahembe adds that this year Dembare will lift the coveted Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League title.
The Harare side has already started preparations for the new season, which kicks off within the next few weeks.
Some critics say the two clubs may be draining their resources through hiring foreign coaches instead of locals. It is understood that a Zimbabwean bank is paying salaries and allowances of these foreign coaches.
It still remains to be seen whether the two giants will rise from their slumber following lackluster performances last year. Will the foreign coaches, who replaced indigenous mentors, meet the grade? Only time will tell.