Litmus test for Kaindu Kelvin Kaindu

Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter

KELVIN Kaindu has some unfinished business at Highlanders. 

After twice coming close to ending the long-standing title drought at Bosso, which has now stretched to 18 years, the Zambian gaffer finds himself back in familiar trenches after he was recently unveiled as head coach by his old club. 

While the issue about the title is something that could be discussed some time probably towards the end of the marathon, Kaindu could be grappling with a hot question in his mind ahead of the kick-off of the 2024 Castle Lager Premiership season this coming weekend — the formula to beat long-time nemesis Dynamos. This is the most immediate challenge because Highlanders will be hosting Dynamos at Barbourfields in the opening match. Kaindu might have been away for nine years after retracing his footsteps back home to Zambia and to be welcomed back with a game against DeMbare is a challenge he must embrace. For the record, during his three-season stint as Highlanders coach between 2012 and 2014, he never beat Dynamos in a league match. The teams met six times with Dynamos winning by identical 1-0 score-lines on three occasions while the other three games ended in 1-1 draws. 

“The Highlanders, Dynamos game is a very important game,” said Kaindu. 

“It doesn’t matter whether it is week one or week 17 that you are playing but what matters is how are you able to manage the situation? 

“This time it comes early, and we are just hoping and praying that the fans will come out in numbers and cheer their beloved teams.”

Of course, he has been following the games between the two teams from his native Zambia where he coached the country’s Under-20 side and Super League sides Zanaco, Buildcon, and Nkana, and does not want to see a repeat of the violent orgies that marred the recent meetings between Dynamos and Highlanders. 

“What we are advocating for is for us to have a game that can be played without any violence. I think we have had a reputation where every game is abandoned all because there is a misunderstanding. 

“But we are trying to get to a phase where people can come out, enjoy the game, and at the end of the day everybody is happy,” said Kaindu. The Zambian will inherit a side that has been shaken a bit with the departures of key players like Mbongeni Ndlovu and Brighton Manhire to FC Platinum, Elsharma Farasi who returned to Bulawayo City at the expiry of his loan deal, and the trio of Ray Lunga, Stanley Ngala, and Washington Navaya whose contracts were not renewed. 

Bosso has signed Brighton Ncube from Chicken Inn while players such as Andrew Tandi, Gillian Nyathi, Darlington Mukuli, Mackinnon, and Mason Mushore have extended their contracts. They also managed to convince Calvin Chigonero, who was on loan from Talen Vision, to sign a permanent contract and secured midfielder Marvin Sibanda on his return home from the USA. 

“I am sure every team’s ambition is to win the championship. There will be so many teams that will be competing and if there is anything that a coach or player or anybody in the management would want their team to be the ones that are winning the championship. 

“It doesn’t come that easy just by talking. I think there will be so many games and a lot of factors that will determine. But the best thing is at the end of the day if you can celebrate and you are happy with whatever you have achieved, it’s a positive result for everybody,” said Kaindu. But Kaindu was clear about his reasons for returning from Zambia and resuming his romance with Bosso. 

He is not new to the club though, having previously played for Highlanders in 1997 before he was entrusted with the dugout between 2012 and 2014. 

The coach is renowned for building an almost invincible Bosso squad that went 23 matches unbeaten in 2012, only to lose the title race to Kalisto Pasuwa’s Dynamos on goal difference. 

Kaindu also came close in 2013 but again DeMbare snatched the silverware from under his nose on the last day of the campaign, again courtesy of goal difference. 

But he had helped Bosso win the 2013 Mbada Diamonds Cup, to end a seven-year drought for major silverware, that had stretched on since Highlanders had last lifted the league title in 2006 with Methembe Ndlovu. 

Kaindu eventually left the club in September 2014. But even then, his records did not reflect hopelessness as he left Bosso in fourth place, trailing log leaders Dynamos by seven points, with six games to go. He also left the team in the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup then.

“Maybe what made me come back is that, I think we had started a project that was seen that we were heading somewhere. 

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t achieve what we wanted but from the players that we had assembled in 2012 I think we were heading somewhere and maybe that could be the reason that I am back. Hopefully restart the project and hope-fully from there, we begin to get positive results,” said Kaindu. 

Bosso warmed up for the scheduled blockbuster 2024 season opener with two final preparatory games against lower division side MWOS in Norton on Saturday, first winning 2-0 and then drawing goalless in the second match.

Kaindu revealed he was ready for the 2024 kick-off. 

“I think our preparations have been okay so far. We are still anticipating the start of the league and we are hoping and believing that maybe the team that we have assembled will be able to come and compete with the other teams as well,” said Kaindu.

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