Friday, January 26, 2018

Madinda turns Bosso to old ways

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NEW Highlanders' coach Madinda Ndlovu says he is returning the club to its old way of promoting players from the juniors instead of going to the market.

In his first interview as Bosso head coach yesterday, Ndlovu said the fresh start the club has embarked on is, among other things, aimed at reducing the budget of "buying" players as well as bringing back the glory days to the club.

Having done away with old horses such as Erick Mudzingwa, Simon Munawa, Ralph Matema and Tendai Ngulube, survivors from last season have been joined by players from the Under-18 and the Division One side Bosso 90.

In his previous stint at Bosso, Ndlovu demonstrated his willingness to give youngsters a chance and believes that it's only a matter of time before his crop of juniors shine.

"We all probably know that the club hasn't been doing well for the past few years and the quest is to try and turn around the fortunes. I've been appointed technical manager of Highlanders with a view to bring in fresh blood, young blood into the team and bring back the lost glory days to the team. Our focus is on trying to put together a formidable side; put together a side that will bring back the masses of Highlanders' supporters to the grounds," said Ndlovu.

"In camp, we have 29 players and not all of them are guaranteed to be Highlanders' players this season. We're working tirelessly with my coaches to give the boys a fair analysis and we will give the office feedback on what we've seen for now.

"I'm less than a month and it's impossible for someone to give a guarantee that we have a team already; it's still work in process. We're still looking at the youngsters; we've got too many youngsters, good youngsters from our development side, from all over the country and the window is still open till March and we working towards putting a reasonable squad together," said Ndlovu.

The path that Ndlovu has taken is in line with resolutions made by members at last year's annual general meeting where they resolved to turn to home grown talent.

This means Highlanders will forgo the title challenge this season as they work on building a formidable side that will compete for honours in the next season.

"It's not easy (to rebuild). There are going to be rough times where we'll be enemies of our own supporters, but at the end of the day experience is not bought, but earned. With more games that these young players are going to play and with more game time, they're going to pick up, I'm confident," Ndlovu said.

Expanding on his mandate, Ndlovu said: "My marriage to Highlanders was after discussions and what came out of it is that we need to put Highlanders back on track. There's need to put back structures into place by having a solid junior policy feeder for the first team.

"The idea is to try and return to the correct path, bring back the Highlanders' tradition or just bring back the Highlanders' culture of doing things. I'll put it in a way that we're looking at a long-term kind of solution and also put in place a mechanism that is going to be followed by anybody who takes over at Highlanders after me, so that the culture doesn't stray. That's the biggest mandate that I have."

Ndlovu and his young brigade are in their second week of pre-season training camp. They have been working on the physical aspect of the players to see if they're fit enough to endure the season. Their next stage is football fitness where they will deal with the basic aspect of the game like basic control, basic pass, mental strength and combinations.

Ndlovu said they will wrap up with the preparatory stage where they will administer formations and work on strategies.

Meanwhile, Ndlovu heaped praise on his assistant Melusi Sibanda for a job well done in terms of junior development.

"You'll appreciate that before I took over the Highlanders' job, I travelled and followed the Under-18s and Bosso 90. It is then that I appreciated how much talent this club has and all that was Melusi's hard work. I managed to watch a good number of players at Bosso 90 and I'm puzzled why the club is not competing and winning things. So, that on its own speaks volumes about the talent at the club and it will only take a stupid coach to ignore (talent) and so much good work done by the juniors' coaches," said Ndlovu.

He said they also share the same philosophy with his other assistant Mandla Mpofu, who was released from his contract by Bulawayo City.