SPONSORSHIP uncertainties rather than results forced Highlanders to part ways with coach Baltemar Brito, NewsDay Sport has been told.
Brito and his assistant Antonio Torres left the country for Portugal on Sunday after an agreement to part ways with the club was reached.
The duo’s contracts are due to expire on December 31.
Torres yesterday confirmed that they have parted ways with the Bulawayo giants.
“We are done with Highlanders, there is not much I can talk about, but we have agreed with the club,” Torres said while in Germany en route to Portugal.
The club later released a statement confirming the duo’s departure.
“The club would like to inform its members, fans and all other stakeholders of the departure of coach Brito and assistant coach Antonio Torres. Coach Brito and Torres’ contracts with the club end on December 31, 2023. The club and the two coaches have mutually agreed not to extend their stay with the club beyond the stated period. The club thanks Mr Brito and Mr Torres for their time with the club and also wishes them all the best in their new endeavours,” the statement read.
A highly-placed source told this publication that the club could not negotiate with Brito or players whose contracts run out at the end of the month because their sponsorship contract with Sakunda ends this month and there have not been any signs that it could renewed.
- Chiefs sucker punch Bosso out
- Brito confident of upstaging FC Platinum
- Bosso unearth another gem
- Zim creatives get notes at world music expo
This leaves Highlanders in a precarious position as they cannot afford the coaches’ salaries without a sponsor.
The club cannot make any promises to players as well since they face a bleak financial situation.
“It will not make sense to start negotiating contracts when the club has no money. That was or is the situation with Brito. The club could not start talking to him about extending his contract without a commitment from the sponsor. That also goes with the players who have their contracts expiring because when you start talking, you have to pay signing-on fees, but the club has no money,” the source said.
Among the players whose contracts expire on December 31 are key members of the squad that include defenders Mbongeni Ndlovu and Andrew Mbeba.
Ndlovu is said to be on the radar of 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions Ngezi Platinum Stars, who will obviously want to bolster their squad ahead of the their Caf Champions League campaign.
FC Platinum are also reportedly targeting Ndlovu.
Sakunda signed a US$5 million sponsorship deal with Highlanders and Dynamos three years ago.
The energy giant was paying the players’ salaries, signing on fees as well as funding administration costs.
The parties have not engaged on the matter and the two clubs are fretting over losing their sponsor who brought stability which helped improve results.