Where are they now?

In our first column in the year, we meet up with former Highlanders gunman, Amin-Soma Phiri.

Amin-Soma Phiri
Amin-Soma Phiri

The former goal-getter was recently appointed welfare manager at his old club, having had some coaching stints with lower division clubs here. He already has big dreams, despite the daunting task of having to motivate players in a club with a long history of financial problems and managerial discrepancies.

Bosso are out to win the league title for the first time in five seasons, but to be able to do that, they will have to buy capable players, retain those they have and be able to motivate their playing arsenal with proper remuneration.

Soma-Phiri’s role is thus, not an easy one. Knowing Highlanders’ history during the past few seasons, the financial problems will be his biggest challenge. Players cannot be motivated without enough to take home. That means the former striker will have to shuttle between players and the executive, creating enemies with either or both.

“We are rebuilding the Bosso brand and I plead with supporters to give us a chance to gel, then success will follow,” he told The Zimbabwean.

“We are already working on projects that will see the club back where it belongs. I cannot mention them now, but they are plenty and all well-planned to restore the club to its glory days.”

Typical of most former footballers and giving a glimpse of where his allegiance might lie at the club, he blamed the falling soccer standards on the alleged commercialisation of the so sport.

“It is very sad that the current crop of players play more for money than the love of the game. We used to play out of passion.”

A celebrated former footballer who won everything on offer in the domestic league, he urged the current crop to engage seek guidance from the old guard, warning of looming poverty for those who fail to properly plan their future.

“We are there and always ready to guide youngsters through their careers. We have seen and triumphed under harsh conditions, having played for no money at some stage, something that helped us to understand the nature of this profession and do something else for a living.”

He has seen the dangers of relying solely on a short career that is soccer.

“Some prominent former players continue to die miserably because they failed to plan when the whole country was rooting for them. That will be the kind of end careless players will meet otherwise if they are not. The majority of them earn a lot but still lack vision. They are myopic and need proper guidance.”

He then took us down memory lane, recalling the competition that made the beautiful game even livelier in old days.

“Competition was the order of the day by then. Big clubs like Highlanders, Caps United, Dynamos and Zimbabwe Saints all had feared players like Moses Chunga, Brenna Msiska, Nhamo Shambira, Stanley Ndunduma, Japhet Mparutsa, Maronga Nyangela, Jimmy Mbere and Madinda Ndlovu. We lack such quality today.”

Soma-Phiri began his professional career in 1984 with Olympics, aged barely 16 years.

When the club was relegated in that same year, he joined Highlanders for what later became a glittering career.

“I used to trouble Highlanders a lot during Bulawayo derbies and when my club was relegated, they ceased the opportunity to sign me alongside our coach Barry Daka and my long-time friend, Tito Paketh, with whom I had a great combination,” added the once bustling and free-scoring striker. He was part of the all-conquering Bosso side that also included Boy Ndlovu, Netsai

Moyo, Madinda, Willard Khumalo, the late Titus Majola, David Phiri and Rahman Gumbo.

“A combination of dedication, commitment, discipline and passion is the key to success.”

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Post published in: Football

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