Opinion / Columnist
Where to Highlanders Football Club? - Ezra 'Tshisa' Sibanda
14 Jul 2015 at 12:47hrs | Views
Highlanders FC an institution and religion now turned to agnosticism! The club which brought so much hope & smiles to millions of its supporters in and outside Zimbabwe boarders has now turned out to be a very stressful and frustrating pain to those supporters lives. The fact that this great club now celebrates draws as if they have won a cup final says it all. Its clear how low it has become under Peter Dube led executive. After 16 games half way through the season, Bosso finds itself number 9 on the log with 21 points after winning just 5 games (all against lower opposition), drawing 6 and losing 5 which is a clear testimony this executive has no ambition and no clue on the way forward for the club.
For a premier league that boasts about its unpredictability and drama, let's be honest, this has been a relatively humdrum Premier League season, almost tediously easy to forecast so far. It doesn't need rocket science that there is no progression at Bosso, sadly Peter Dube and his executive believe otherwise. The root cause of all the problems at Bosso lie within the executive and its board. They are the people in charge and were responsible for hiring the coaches including Mafu who has been a total failure so far despite all the promises he made beginning of the season. The current executive has been coming out with countless excuses for shambolic football at Bosso, blaming referees, Bosso players, Ex players, opposition teams, economy and fans but never blaming themselves for flopping. They work so hard to make supporters accept mediocrity to the extent of accepting losses and draws as progress. Non of the executive or board members have come out to apologise to fans for getting things wrong, pathetic football and poor judgement, a clear manifestation of arrogance.
We miss Rodger Muhlwa quality all round leadership style, we miss Mangwana Tshuma ever hungry for success & focused leadership style(MHSRIP), miss Kenny Ndebele & Nhlanhla Dube visionary leadership, Maphepha' s charismatic & ambitious leadership, we miss the Ndumiso Gumede of yesterday, one of the best administrators of our time! What happened to Gumede? A man who understood the game inside out, a man who ran the game so professional getting respect & recognition from Zim football fans, Caf and Fifa, a man where the word success was inscribed in his heart, a real champion of Zimbabwean football. The man cleaned everything before him during his time as Bosso leader and what has gone wrong now? Could it because he is presiding under a very arrogant Bosso chairman whose arrogance, dumbness & poor leadership skills has seen this beloved club going down. The leaders l mentioned here had no sponsorship during their tenures like Peter now but Bosso was a force to reckon with. Fast forward to today, Bosso is sponsored by a Bank and this executive is taking the club backwards. How embarrassing is that?
Football in Zimbabwe has also suffered its controversies and travails in domestic and national teams. But neither has agonised or been abused or so spectacularly imploded like Highlanders FC. Once the great bastion of Matabeleland and Zimbabwe football, Highlanders are broken, suffering in debts and are now limping under the current leadership. I have been everywhere with Highlanders in my time, the whole of Zimbabwe, Africa and UK entering some grand arenas to follow the club's progress. Last time when l was at home, I watched the game between How Mine and Highlanders, attendance about 3 000 for a further forlorn stop in this infamous tragedy. That crowd would attend Bosso practice matches in the past, its very unlike Highlanders and there is something certainly wrong at the club. Peter Dube and his executive should question themselves on where they are getting it wrong, the answer lies with them. The executive lied and misled members that the bus would be ready by the time Bosso played DeMbare a couple of weeks ago but no one knows what is happening to it, yet it was meant to be delivered beginning of February 2015. We are in mid July and nothing yet!
The story of the demise of Highlanders is a painful one. I first watched Bosso as a little kid in the early 80s and, privately or professionally, have scarcely been away from the club since. Back then, in childhood, Highlanders seemed as strong and immovable as the famous Emagumeni that is known all over as Barbourfields Stadium, the club's home. Amahlolanyama was a sentinel, we assumed, that no one could ever bring down and go for years under the dominance of fiercest rivals. So how did it ever come to this where the club gets sodomised by lowly teams at a stadium which used to be a fortress? Its abandonment of youth policy, dubious debts, inept & unprofessional administration and a naive technical team. The roll call of chancers and charlatans who have ruined Bosso is long. This is a painful story of betrayal.
Despite all these bad results, fans still support the team, a real testament to Bosso fans' enduring love for their club. But in recent times crowds have plummeted as supporters have waged war with the Highlanders coach, executive & board, and a power struggle for control of the club has waged among various factions with reports that the board now runs the club. The poor attendances at BF 3000 or below are the result of supporters being worn down, first by the demise of the club itself, and now with a board & executives who are detested, and cannot get the club back on its feet. The cornerstone of any big club's income stream are down significantly as fans either boycott or feel sickened by the poor form. The Bosso chairman, Peter Dube is a loathed figure, while the club is derided. How can they register the new bus in Bosso name when they know the club is swimming in debts and the club property continues to be attached willy nilly? Doesn't that show incompetence and naivety on the part of the executive? Where is the money from the Banc ABC given for players signing on fees going? What is happening to money paid by Super Sport for live coverage of games? Is that money not enough to pay MaMbare?
The upshot of all this Bosso warring has been a dysfunctional and paralysed football club with boycotting fans and no money in the coffers. There is no other way of putting it, many view the declining of Highlanders as the ultimate comeuppance for the great, monumental beast. A ribald, black humour has emerged about Bosso, but it has also led to deep social divisions, online enmity, and an unpleasant atmosphere in Zimbabwean football. There has been an awful lot of people who have enjoyed what is happening to Bosso, I have no doubts about that! But that would happen in any walk of life. If anyone has been at the top and they are suddenly struggling, you will always get people laughing at it. Its not easy to turn a blind eye if you really care about your club.
This is just not good enough for Bulawayo's most popular team. There is just one solution to look at right now and that is, FIRE everybody. It is apparent that there are sinister agendas in play to destroy Bosso and its beginning to look like there are insiders involved! Dont get me wrong we need people to take Highlanders forward not these flops so kick them out of office. Some of us will always voice our concerns because Bosso is a public institution and nobody owns it but the people. No one is a better supporter than the other, views expressed here are mine and mine only. I dont need any position at Highlanders and have no plans in contesting so the imbeciles should not mistaken my passion and love for Bosso as way of campaigning. I am not a coward and my spirit will never be dampened by haters, l stand for the truth and will always speak out no matter who. I just need the best for this club we all so love and nothing else. We have so many capable leaders who can take Bosso forward, leaders who wont compromise the club because of friendship, leaders who have a vision and leaders who respect the name Highlanders and put it first. I urge these failures, all of them to resign including the technical team for the good of the club. If they fail to beat Dynamos on the 25th of this month at BF, it will be criminal for them to remain in charge of the club, people are fed up of mediocrity and lies from the worst Highlanders executive in recent times!
Source - Ezra Tshisa Sibanda
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