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Highlanders more than a football entity

by Staff reporter
02 Apr 2021 at 09:14hrs | Views
HIGHLANDERS FC is more than a football entity. It is life and everything to some and leaving Bosso in 1976 would have seen club legend Douglas Mloyi disowned by his own family.

The decision not to betray his father's wishes paid a dividend as in 1981 the club helped him acquire a house.

For four years he did not receive any allowances as his dues went towards repaying the loan to the club used to secure the house for him.

In 1981 he approached the club to assist him as the club had facilitated a deal for Colsen Mabeza who had joined the team from Dynamos.

"Abadala for my loyalty as I was among the youngest and that I still had more years to play for the team saw reason in assisting me acquire a home I still live in. I kept receipts as some players later complained thinking I was done a favour. I used to show them that I paid every cent of the price for the home and I do not have regrets for that and I am ever grateful for the club's gesture," he said.

Olympics had come knocking and Mloyi should have moved along the impressive cast of Barry Daka, Chutika Tembo, Stanley Nyika, Isaac Mafaro, Itai Chieza and Ananias Dube among other first team members of the Class of 1976 whose climb to the top had started in 1973 with the Chibuku Trophy win over Mangula. Mloyi, says if he had insisted on leaving the whole clan would have disowned him.

His father Solomon, was among Bosso's officials, those that played a backbench role but were key in the running of the club.

"My father was always there at Bosso among the officials. When he heard I had been approached by Olympics he swore that he would disown me. That would have been the whole family turning its back on me.

"Together with Willie Luphahla we reasoned and decided not to go for 30 pieces of silver and stay on with the clubs' veterans Lawrence Phiri, Majuta Mpofu, Tymon Mabaleka, Josiah Nxumalo, Tennyson Mloyi my brother, Ephraim Moloi who was also coming up," said the man better known in football circles as British.

He disclosed that he was given $50 to join splinter club, Olympics. All the players were enticed with money to leave Highlanders. Some senior players had not been happy with payments for a while including a vast majority from outside Bulawayo.

But the turning point became the club's decision to form a new inferior league and desert the John Madzima and Peter Nemapare Rhodesia National Football League after what they turned daylight robbery of the 1976 championship.

Bosso did not fulfil a home fixture arguing Barbourfields Stadium was waterlogged. All week they claim they were in touch with the league only for Dynamos to turn up at the match venue and get awarded a walk over.

That was the turning point as those two points saw Dynamos win the first national league title since 1972. He said officials like Bulawayo businessman Stanley Bazaya were at the heart of the turbulence at the club that saw a good number of the first team leave for Olympics. Olympics to rub salt to injury even took Bosso colours as it stayed in the RFNL under Madzima.

British said he had to endure with sleeping away from home as a livid Solomon would not want to hear of his son leaving for the newly formed team. To atone for that British went all the way and bought his dad a brand new suit.

"From the $50 I literally bribed my dad with a brand new suit so that we could bury the hatchet. He never got to know that the source was money from Olympics," said British.

He applauded the senior players who stayed put. Moloi lasted three games and followed the guys who had led the breakaway.

"Ephraim left. Hey at first the standards were deplorable in the just formed South Zone. I must point out the sterling work done by James Nxumalo and Edward 'Sales House' Dzowa who became manager and his deputy after Silas Ndlovu relinquished the gaffer's post to be general manager of the South Zone Soccer League," said the former Bosso defence stalwart and Warriors defender of the early 1980s.

Under James and Dzowa Highlanders dominated the increasingly strengthening league winning the first league title and a number of smaller competitions. British would in 1977 and 1978 be chosen among the league's most outstanding 11 players.

Old Miltonians won the 1978 league title. He singled out Onias Musana, Lemmy Mnenekwa and Grey Mkandawire Ncube as having been among the stand out players in the league turning out for Black Horrors of Plumtree.

Black Chiefs with Alfred 'Ngedla' Phiri and Francis Sikhosana, Bulawayo Rockets' Runnie Ndlovu, Nicodemus Mabhena and Conrad Nkomazana, Gwanda Ramblers' Ramz Nqadini, Mactavish Dube and Sydney (Philemon) Muriyengwe and Gweru's Go Beer Rovers' Danny Mahaso and Thomas Chipembere eventually got to be the stand out players.

There were other good players from Old Miltonians who included Greg Faasen later to star for Wits University in South Africa, Allan and Neil Boonzaier who moved to Bosso after Independence.

The former Bosso stalwart won several tournaments with Highlanders including the Chibuku Trophy (1980, 1984, 1986), Castle Cup (1986), Rothmans Shield (1986), Heroes Shield (1984), a league runners-up medal and others like the Jairos Jiri fete.

He formed several impressive defence partnerships with the likes of Lawrence Phiri, William Mabika, Macdonald Silongwe, Richard Ndlovu and a trophy laden stint with Alexander Maseko regarded among the country's best.

He played in a decade of some of the best centrebacks in the land Clemency Sibanda, Amos Rendo, Emmanuel Sibanda, Ephert Lungu, Sunday Chidzambwa, Abraham Mwanza, Misheck Chidzambwa, Majid Dhana, Stephen Chuma and Moloi.

He will always be remembered for his tackling, aerial duels and leadership brewed from many years of loyalty to the 95-year-old institution.

Source - chronicle