The Sunday Mail
FOR newly appointed Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Erol Akbay the first time he came into the country as head coach of Highlanders he saw and now he is ready to conquer.
The 52-year-old Dutchman returned from a one-year sabbatical from football after he was appointed head coach at the Mhondoro side on a three-year contract.
“The first time you are in a country you don’t know what to expect and almost everything that happens is a surprise.“As I return to a country that has become my second home, I return better prepared for the challenge knowing what to expect,” said the Dutchman.
The Dutchman has been tasked with winning the championship, which the club blew twice, successively during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
However, Akbay appears unfazed by the challenge that lies ahead.
“The club has not made it a secret that they want the championship, and I accepted the challenge,” he said.
Fully aware that failure to land the title could end his three-year contract prematurely, Akbay says he will part ways with the club if it’s the case.
“It is not a secret that my contract states that I should win the championship and that is why I say if I win its ok and if I fail to win the title it’s up to the club to decide if I stay.
“If the club feels that I should go, even if it is in my first year, then I will say goodbye because I know I would have failed to meet the target of my contract,” said Akbay.
The Dutchman believes that there is nothing that can stop the club from winning the championship race this year considering what the club has done in its three-year stay in the top flight.
“What they have done in the three years that they have been in the Premier League is proof they can do it.
“FC Platinum took more time, then there is nothing that can stop them (Ngezi Platinum Stars) from winning the title this year.
“Four years in the Premiership is enough time,” he said.
Jetting into what was perceived to be a brewing storm, within the Ngezi Platinum Stars camp as players threatened to leave, Akbay has been impressed by the personnel at Ngezi, but hinted that a shopping spree before transfer deadline day on March 31 could be on the cards.
“I am impressed with the talent that I have seen here, there are players who want to play football and learn something new and as coach it makes me very happy
“My philosophy is different from the previous coach, I prefer high tempo football which is more of attacking, and it will take time for them to play on my philosophy.
“But I am confident by the time the league starts or in three weeks’ time the players would be understanding my philosophy,” said Akbay.
The Dutchman singled out Chicken Inn as the team that poses a great threat to his title challenge aspirations.
“They have doing well on the market, they are a good team and they have a good coach.
“It is the one team that I am tipping for the title,” he said.
Having spent two seasons with Bosso, Akbay, the Dutchman still holds Highlanders dear in his heart.
“The first love is always the deepest, but Ngezi is now paying my salary and it is the most important thing to me to do my things the Ngezi way,” he said.
Akbay reunited with his former assistant coach at Highlanders Cosmas Tsano Zulu and roped in former FC Platinum assistant coach Tendai Chikuni as his assistants.