HIGHLANDERS on Thursday axed veteran captain Innocent Mapuranga and replaced him with goalkeeper Arial Sibanda as the inquest into last Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Dynamos in the TM Challenge Cup continued.
Hit hard in the pocket was beefy striker Njabulo Ncube, who received a two-week suspension and will have part of his salary garnished.
Leading scorer Charles Sibanda, with 12 goals in the league so far, and midfielder, Joel Ngodzo, who both arrived from FC Platinum in January were given written last warnings as Highlanders came hard on the events surrounding their stay in Harare before the match against Dynamos.
Mapuranga has been skipper since 2011. Eric Mudzingwa, who came through the Highlanders junior ranks, is the new vice captain.
Highlanders chief executive Ndumiso Gumede, whose club also read the riot act on coach Kelvin Kaindu and his technical team on Monday, confirmed the changes, but did not give reasons for the decisions that had been made.
Sources however said: “There was total misbehaviour at the hotel, noise which disturbed some of the guests booked there, alcohol and drug abuse.
“The hotel noted that to the club and the club had to act against the culprits.”
There were also suggestions on Thursday night that team manager Willard Khumalo had been severely reprimanded by the club and asked to check on the players’ behaviour when in camp.
Generally, a lot of local players are hooked on alcohol and mbanje use.
Ncube will miss Sunday’s Chibuku Super Cup quarterfinal against How Mine at Hartsfield and next weekend’s league match against Harare City.
In his absence, new signing Simba Sithole is now likely to get a starting berth as Bosso seek a quick recovery from the 4-1 humiliation at the hands of bitter rivals Dynamos in the TM Challenge Cup last