UNDERFIRE Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu will be fired if he fails to win the Premier League title this season, club CEO Ndumiso Gumede has revealed.
Kaindu met club chiefs for four hours on Sunday after a string of poor results left the Bulawayo side trailing defending champions Dynamos by four points with just seven matches before the season ends.
Explaining the decision to give the coach an ultimatum, Gumede said: “For us, being at the top of the pack is a measure of success.
“Mathematically, there are 21 points up for grabs and unless there’s a miracle, not all teams can garner 21 points. Our wish is to win all our remaining games.”
Gumede categorically state that Kaindu faces the axe, but making the Premier League title a target for the Zambian coach – with Highlanders struggling for form – signals an impending end to his three-year reign at the club during which the league title has eluded him.
Kaindu can still win the Chibuku Super Cup after Highlanders reached the semi-finals. The club is also targeting the Mbada Diamonds Cup – which they won last year – but the tournament remains in doubt.
But club bosses told the Zambian expatriate only winning the championship would be acceptable.
Highlanders succumbed 1-0 away to Harare City on Saturday, and they trail Dynamos by four points after 23 rounds of matches.
Bosso have in the last two seasons finished runners-up to Dynamos, and it appears being second best is no longer tolerable at the Bulawayo giants.
Kaindu signed a watertight contract that will require Bosso to pay at least US$60,000 if they are to fire him.
Insiders say he remains within the performance target set by the club – which will rile supporters who have become despondent over the club’s poor run of form.
Highlanders are left with a tricky seven games, including a home match against ambitious ZPC Kariba and an away visit to Caps United who are also vying for the league championship.
They also face a trip away to Hwange in between meetings with Chicken Inn (home), Chiredzi FC (home) and Shabanie Mine (away and then wrap-up the season with a home assignment with Chapungu.
Highlanders last won the league title in 2006, which coincidentally is the last time they beat Dynamos in the league.Advertisement
Kaindu is aware of the expectations of the Highlanders fans.
Gumede said: “At our meeting, we expressed to the technical department the concerns everybody connected to the club – that is the advisory board, executive, workers, members, supporters, sympathisers and sponsors.
“Everybody is worried, if not concerned, with the pathetic performance displayed against Harare City. That pathetic performance can’t be repeated.
“We accept a team may have an off day and we would like to assume that’s what happened at Harare City, especially coming from an emphatic win against How Mine.
That sad episode should be put behind and we implored the technical department to make sure that the players understand the enormity of the responsibility that lies on their shoulders.”
With chances of winning the league title now out of their hands, Highlanders must concentrate on their matches and hope Dynamos will drop points.
Dynamos are left with just one trip out of Harare in their remaining seven games – a visit to Moses Chunga’s Buffaloes in Mutare on Week 25.
The defending champions’ next league match is against Shabanie Mine followed by the trip to Mutare, Chapungu (home), Harare City (away), Bantu Rovers (home), ZPC Kariba who play their away games in Harare and How Mine (home).