Bulawayo giants Highlanders will not be holding pre-season trials for the first time in years after deciding to rely on players from their junior ranks.

Madinda Ndlovu

Bosso, now under the tutelage of legendary former player Madinda Ndlovu and ex-Bulawayo city coach Mandla Mpofu, are believed to have promoted about 11 players from the Under-18 squad and the developmental side Bosso 90, while four senior players, including the long serving Erick “Tsiba” Mudzingwa were axed.

Other senior players that were shown the exit door include Simon Munawa, Tendai Ngulube and Ralph Matema, while pint-sized King Nadolo packed his bags for South African National First Division side Witbank Spurs.

“They have a process of player identification and assessment, which does not have trials. Remember you have a whole developmental side and the Under-18s. Any player coming through for assessment is looked at in a structured way,” said Highlanders chief executive Nhlanhla Dube. Dube said Bosso would be holding their early pre-season preparations at a secret location, but the new squad would be unveiled to the public sometime next week.

“We are keeping the team away from the public for now, but next week it will be possible because there will be guest speakers,” said Dube. The Bulawayo giants are on a massive rebuilding exercise after taking a deliberate move to resort to their junior structures in a bid to recapture their lost glory, which has seen them going for more than a decade without lifting the league title.

The majority of the 2006 squad that last won the league title under Methembe Ndlovu was made up of players that came through the junior structures and bonded and also knew what it meant to don the black and white jersey. Across town in Bulawayo Chicken Inn players returned for pre-season training under the watchful eyes of returning assistant coach Prince Matore and new goalkeepers’ coach Tirivaviri Sithole.

Chicken Inn have re-united with their 2015 championship winning coach Joey Antipas, but it was Matore who took charge of the Gamecocks’ first training session of 2018 in the absence of their head coach. They have recalled some of their players from loan spells for assessment and among them striker Adrian Banana, who was with 2018 Premiership debutants Bulawayo Chiefs.

A number of players also tried their luck with the former champions, with the most recognisable faces being forward Joe Nyabinde from Shabanie Mine and defender Kudzai Chideu, who was at How Mine last season. Ngulube, who has been offloaded by Highlanders, watched the training from the terraces.

“I am happy with the turnout of the players, it is good to see some of the familiar faces who were here when we won the championship. The important thing now is to get the players in shape in terms of fitness. As it is, we have a large pool of players in training and most of them are from our development side,” said Matore.

“We will have a look at them and see what they can do. We will obviously look for additions, whom I am confident will be here by next week. The objective of every coach is to excel and we are no exception.”

Some of the players that were present yesterday were Guide Goddard, Clemence Matawu, Innocent Muchaneka, Thabani Goredema, Ben Nyahunzvi, Moses Jackson, Brian Juru, Devine Lunga, Thabani Goredema, Christopher Samakweri and George Majika.



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