Highlands Park have commented on the speculation linking the club with Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena, after the Siya crew had been informed that the club is looking at adding the tactician to their technical team.
Mokwena is still under contract with Pirates, though it is believed that he could be leaving the Soweto giants at the end of the season as he plots the next step in his career, and most likely as a head coach.
With that in mind, the crew had been informed that the Lions of the North, who have struggled with a loss of form in recent times, are said to be considering bringing Mokwena on board as a potential addition to their technical team.
However, Highlands co-chairman Brad Kaftel denied rumours linking Mokwena with the club.
“That’s definitely not true, it’s false – 100% false. We’ve got a contract with Owen da Gama that runs until the end of next season, in 2021,” Kaftel told the Siya crew.
“The truth is we are in eighth place (Highlands are currently ninth on the log, one point behind eighth-placed Golden Arrows). We have had a few bad results, I accept that, but bottom line in football is that you are not going to win every game. There will be some bad results. We’ve had some good results and got to a cup (MTN8) final. We did well against SuperSport in the cup final and we had chances. So, we are fully behind Owen da Gama and we’ve got a very close relationship.
“This is now his (Da Gama’s) third season, he’s done very well for us. When he took over our team we were in the NFD and had just lost two (games) in a row. We were languishing in the NFD and he took us and got us promoted. Last season, he got us to the top eight and this season we’ve got to a cup final. We don’t see why we should change the coach and bring someone else. We are fully committed,” the club boss added.
“It’s just rumours, we haven’t made contact with any other coach. I put my head on the Bible, I’ve not head a discussion with any other coach, we haven’t signed any other coach, we haven’t had a meeting with any other coach. I mean, many agents email me or send me messages on LinkedIn that they’ve got a coach from overseas, this and that, and ask if we are looking for a coach.
“We’re not! I mean, there’s eight (seven) teams below us (on the log). Yes, I do accept that we have had a poor run in these last three games, and that’s the worst that has ever happened to us since Owen came. We’ve never lost three games in a row since Owen has been in charge. We are obviously disappointed with that but that’s football and I have no doubt that we’ll bounce back. We’ve got a very good team of good players and a lot of depth,” he said.
“You can phone Rulani, I know Rulani very well, because years ago when my kids were playing at Silver Stars, he was the under-17 coach there. I know Rulani and if I see him I’ll give him a hug, he’s a fantastic young man and I only wish him the best. But at this point in time we haven’t considered anything.
“I know that what I’m telling you now, and through years of football, sometimes there’ll be denies, denies, denies, the next day there’s a new coach. If that was the case I might as well have just said, ‘No comment.’ But I comment because we haven’t spoken to anybody and we are not speaking to anyone,” concluded Kaftel.