Amin Soma-Phiri's sad tale

HARARE - A career as a football coach can really be a thankless job and Highlanders interim coach Amin Soma-Phiri can attest to that effect.

Soma-Phiri is set to be jettisoned by the Bulawayo giants despite leading them to a sixth place finish on the Castle Lager Premiership log and NetOne EasyCall Cup trophy during the just-ended season.

He arrived at the club in September when morale was at its lowest ebb after a frustrating period under former coach Bongani Mafu.

At that point, Bosso were in danger of being relegated unless they started picking up points at regular intervals.

But in the nine league matches, the former club midfielder took over, Highlanders won five, drew one and lost three times.

That run in the final third of the season ensured the Bulawayo giants finished the season in a respectable sixth place with 41 points.

It was a remarkable turnaround, considering the depths to which Bosso had sunk under Mafu.

With Soma-Phiri in charge, Highlanders were not just winning matches but they were playing with confidence and overrunning their opponents like the good Bosso sides of old days.

It did not stop there either.

Highlanders entered the EasyCall Cup as rank outsiders to win the silverware after they were drawn against high-riding FC Platinum in the quarter-finals away at Mandava Stadium.

At that stage, the platinum miners were enjoying a good streak in the league after having gone 20 matches without defeat.

Bosso, however, tore apart the form book when they put in a smash-and-grab performance to win the tie 1-0, courtesy of Knox Mutizwa’s stoppage time goal.

In the semi-finals, Bosso were up against Dynamos, a side they had failed to beat at Barbourfields Stadium in the league since 2006.

Once again, Bosso defied all odds and emerged with a 2-1 victory after outplaying Dynamos, especially in the first half in which they could have scored at least four goals.

By defeating DeMbare as Highlanders coach, Soma-Phiri has achieved what his predecessors like Mafu, Mark Mathe, Kelvin Kaindu, Mkhuphali Masuku, Mohammed Fathi and Madinda Ndlovu all failed to do.

In Sunday’s final, Highlanders faced a newly-crowned Chicken Inn side that had won all their four previous meetings in the league matches.

Bosso started the final as underdogs but when the final whistle sounded, the Bulawayo giants were in seventh heaven as Ralph Matema’s 40th minute penalty had handed them the trophy.   

Despite achieving all this in a short space of time, it appears Soma-Phiri was just warming up the seat for someone else.

Since October, the Highlanders bosses had been trying hard to snare Dutchman Errol Akbay as their new coach at the recommendation of club benefactor, Zanu PF legislator Tshinga Dube.

The Akbay deal failed to materialise and Bosso have been searching for a coach ever since to take over permanently.

While all this has been happening, Soma-Phiri was quietly working on turning Bosso into revered giants they used to be.

Due to the lack of confidence shown to him by the club bosses, Soma-Phiri had already resigned to his fate that he will not be offered the Highlanders job on a permanent basis.

“I have nothing to say to you, I am no longer a Highlanders coach. Talk to Highlanders bosses not me or maybe Tsano (Cosmas Zulu). As for me, my job is gone,” is all Soma-Phiri could say after Sunday’s final.

Highlanders CEO Ndumiso Gumede said: “We are still looking for a coach.

“The good thing is that if we don’t get a suitable candidate, we have a capable back-up.”


Comments (6)

'back-up' Mr. Gumede are you implying that Soma is not first choice material? Shame!!!

Gari waDonono - 15 December 2015

Trust Ndumiso He has bigger plans which go beyond Soma-Phiri

jay dzie - 16 December 2015

I personally feel Soma Phiri is the right man at the moment regardless of what Gumede is planning. Within a short space of time he has managed to change otherwise "shameful" situation. So I think its best they let him continue for a while and see how he performs before engaging an outsider who will be expensive to pay and leave the club cash strapped.

nox - 16 December 2015

Surely this is not fair!!After all that Soma Phiri has done for Bosso and then just to throw him away like a used condom!!Think again Gumede and have a heart

Soccer Fan - 17 December 2015

lafa elihle. everything reeks of zanu spite, ineptitude and malice.This decision is not only stupid, but shameful too. Will i watch the team ever again soon, least likely.

zibusiso - 18 December 2015

Tshinga Dube ran down ZDI, a company that had a monopoly in many areas.When he was promoted to cabinet, ZDI had gone for a year without wages for its employees. Shame shame shame on you!! I don't think he can offer reliable advice that any team could adopt.If highlanders are not careful, the team will tumble and fall. Zemuka izinkomo magwalindini!!

gooseberry - 18 December 2015

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