Senior Sports Reporter
MANDLA Mpofu’s reign as Highlanders’ head coach came to a screeching halt yesterday morning when the club gave him the sack together with his assistant Bekithemba Ndlovu, goalkeepers’ trainer Julius Ndlovu and welfare manager Vezigama Dlodlo.
News of their sacking was delivered to them by Highlanders chairman Johnfat Sibanda at the club’s offices.
Only Joel Luphahla survived the axe and took charge of the team’s training session at White City Stadium, as the club hunts for a substantive coach.
Luphahla joined Bosso from Northern region Division One side Golden Eagles in March, when it became apparent that Highlanders were struggling.
The move to axe Mpofu and some members of the technical team came as a shock since it comes soon after Highlanders stunned Dynamos 1-0 in the abandoned league game at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Bosso outplayed DeMbare before taking a lead through Washington Navaya in the 92nd minute before rowdy Dynamos fans tore nets and tried to uproot the goalposts forcing the referee to abandon proceedings.
Mpofu, who was elevated to the head coach’s role in 2020 as a replacement for Mark Harrison, who had returned to his native England, leaves Highlanders having led them to the 2022 Independence Cup glory after beating Dynamos 1-0 at Barbourfields Stadium.
Although his sacking was imminent following a string of draws that have seen Bosso accumulating 16 points from 13 games and languishing in 13th position on the league table, Bosso were reportedly awaiting the outcome of their abandoned FC Platinum match that was called off with the teams tied 1-1.
Bosso are likely to bag three points from the abandoned Dynamos match, which will lift them into ninth place in the event that they lose the FC Platinum game.
Before the abandoned Dynamos game, Highlanders’ last victory was on March 27 when they beat Yadah 3-0.
Mpofu also failed to turn Highlanders into a winning outfit on the road, as they have gone for 28 league games without a win outside Bulawayo.
Their last win outside Bulawayo was the 1-0 over Triangle United at Gibbo Stadium on July 22, 2018.
This season, Highlanders have played six matches outside Bulawayo and lost twice to Black Rhinos and Manica Diamonds, and drew three times.
This means from a possible 18 points, they just managed three, a poor record for any serious team vying for the championship.
Statistics were heavily stacked against Mpofu and when the club came out backing the under-fire gaffer in the build-up to the Dynamos game, that changed when they saw the fans storming the pitch in celebration of a goal.
“In as much as the club wanted to stand by the coach because his (Mpofu) concerns on depth and injuries were real, it is in his best interest that we sever ties and he goes with his dignity intact.
It wouldn’t have been nice for him to leave with fans throwing eggs at him and if fans could invade the pitch when the team won, what of when we lose? Besides, such decisions have to be made as leaders to protect the institution,” said an official.
With league games suspended, Highlanders have time to conclude their search for a substantive coach.
The club was due to release a statement on the technical bloodbath yesterday.