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The year Friday Phiri almost joined Highlanders - 2014

by Staff reporter
27 Oct 2017 at 06:33hrs | Views
HE had been to Swaziland several times with the Zimbabwe national team and Caps United, scored goals, put up sterling performances and perhaps just one thing that was probably left for him was securing a job with a club here.

With some of us still school boys, Friday Phiri eventually landed his first Swazi coaching job in 1995 spending just six months before packing his bags from Eleven Men in Flight and many probably thought he would be interested for another dance.

And 19 years later it came very close, it had to be with this country's biggest and most successful soccer outfit, Mbabane Highlanders who had just parted ways with Basil Pietersen after promotion back to the premiership.

At that time the media read as follows: "Capital city giants Mbabane Highlanders have opted to settle for highly rated Zimbabwean coach Friday Phiri who is to be unveiled this week.

"Sources close to the club have revealed that Phiri, a Malawian national by birth, emerged as the suitable candidate among other coaches that the club's top brass had earmarked.

"The former Zimbabwe National Under-23 coach in 2011 is expected in the country.

"He is a well respected coach in Zimbabwe and that country's technical director recommended him to the club," said a well placed source.

Then Highlanders Chairman, Bheki "Rubber" Simelane was quoted as follows: "I will soon be calling the press to our new coach unveiling ceremony which should be soon as I'm about to conclude talks with him," he diplomatically said.

When pressured on this, he then acknowledged that Phiri was their man after some people in Zimbabwe, including the technical director recommended him as a good coach with experience.

"Friday Phiri is the coach we expect to be having here in two days' time to conclude the deal then we will unveil our new coach. Phiri's CV is already with us and looks okay as he has even coached the national Under-23 in Zimbabwe two years ago," he said.

He said Phiri was also respected because he was a good disciplinarian and always working at having players who will adhere to his high level discipline standards.

When Phiri was contacted he confirmed the news.

"I am discussing something with Highlanders but I still have to inform my family as this means relocation so they must know first what is happening," he said.

Phiri then went to Swaziland but could not reach an agreement with Highlanders, the deal collapsed, and Malawian coach, Meck Mwase got the job.

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Source - bmetro