HIGHLANDERS will resume discussions with senior players over new contracts after the festive holidays, having failed to reach agreements with some of their top players last week. BY FORTUNE MBELE
Skipper Felix Chindungwe, Rahman Kutsanzira, Simon Munawa, Douglas Sibanda, veteran striker Ralph Matema, defenders Tendai Ngulube and Honest Moyo and goalkeeper Njabulo Nyoni have their contracts expiring on Sunday with the club confirming that only Erick Mudzingwa and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda have signed new contracts.
Club secretary Emmett Ndlovu, who a few weeks ago said Highlanders will be done with all players’ contracts this week, yesterday said the club offices were closed and they will resume talks with the players next year.
“The status quo remains. We are on holiday and the offices are closed. We will resume discussions with the players next year when we open our offices,” Ndlovu said.
Highlanders, who owe some of the players money from the just-ended season, risk losing soon-to-be-out-of-contract players to other teams.
Ndlovu confirmed Sibanda, Mudzingwa and striker Gabriel Nyoni had extended their stay at Highlanders and said the club would pay outstanding signing-on fees when the funds were made available.
Central defender Tendai Ndlovu, who travelled with the Warriors for a friendly match against Ivory Coast, has a running contract with Highlanders while 2016 Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year finalist Peter Muduhwa extended his stay by two years.
Muduhwa is a wanted man in South Africa with Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City having shown interest in the player.
Young attacking midfielder Godfrey Makaruse and striker Kasimero Chimbadzwa will be free agents after December 31.
Players with running contracts include Castle Lager Rookie of the Year Prince Dube, defenders Ndlovu and Benson Phiri as well as midfielders King Nadolo, Brian Banda, Allen Gahadzikwa, Adrian Silla, and goalkeeper Prosper Matutu.
Bukhosi Ncube, Thembalethu Mthunzi, McCarthy Dube and Nkosana Ndlovu still have running contracts with the Bulawayo giants.
Coach Erol Akbay has decided against holding trials and will invite players he is interested in for assesments.
Bosso is targeting the Hwange trio of Gift Mbweti and Newman Sianchali as well as defender Tonisani Sibelo.
Lack of funds could hamper Highlanders bid to sign the players who have running contracts with the coal miners.