ONE point away from the relegation zone Highlanders’ executive have pressed the panic button and handed coach Mandla Mpofu a three-match ultimatum or face the chop.
Just two months after he took over from Madinda Ndlovu, Mpofu will need to collect at least six points from his next two matches, having lost 2-1 in his previous encounter with Triangle.
“After careful analysis of recent performances and results, and taking into cognizance the obviously unfavorable position that the team occupies on the log, as the club leadership we have set new requirements for positive results for the technical team,” Highlanders club executive chairman Kenneth Mhlope said in a statement.
“The results will be assessed by the executive after three matches, the first one being yesterday’s match against Triangle FC which we unfortunately lost 2-1. In these three matches, the coaches are expected to collect a minimum six points.”
He continued: “While that is the case, the club still stands firmly behind the coaches, believes they can turn the tide and continues to give them all the support hey need and wishes them all the best in their following assignments.”
Highlanders who have this season failed to reach expected heights parted company with Madinda Ndlovu with effect June 30 2019. Ndlovu left to join Botswana outfit Gaborone United for the 2019/2020 Botswana league season.
He had been appointed Bosso coach on January 1 2018 going on to assemble a predominately young and competitive squad which showed glimpses of promise in fits and starts but never really got going.
Mpofu took over with Bosso struggling for consistency, a trend they would continue under his watch. The club now hangs precariously above the drop zone, just one point above Mushowani Stars who are fourth from bottom with 23 points from 20 matches played, way behind log leaders CAPS United who lead the way with 37 points.
Mpofu, however, remains hopeful that his technical team and players have what it takes to dig themselves out of the mud.
“I don’t despair, I don’t lose hope. I have to appreciate what my guys performance,” Mpofu told reporters after the Triangle defeat.
“This is the industry where we rely on results, the most important thing is can I channel all the energy that I have into the team and see if they play well and win games. If I am not a good coach I will go and if I am a good coach I will stay with team,” he added.
If Mpofu fails to find six points in his next two matches and Highlanders part ways with him it could further leave players perplexed at the appointment of three coaches with different philosophies in one season.