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Ndumiso Gumede's footprints remain forever

by Staff Reporter
26 Jun 2021 at 06:47hrs | Views
Ndumiso Gumede
HE is a revered administrator, an icon in football administration and a larger-than-life character who commands a lot of respect even outside football structures, yet he has no league title medal.

At the age of 33 back in 1978, Ndumiso Emmanuel Gumede found himself at the helm of the Highlanders executive committee, taking over from Landcut Gumbo.

It was to be a journey that would transform Highlanders into one of the well-run football clubs in the country with its own properties, which included a club office, Luveve camping house, popularly known as Hotel California, and a club house.

The offices and Luveve camping house were acquired in 1986 and a year later Bosso took over Queens Bowling Club and converted it into their club house.

Gumede briefly left football administration in frustration, only to be ‘forced' back to the club's leadership structures by the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo after the then Bosso chairman Malcom King decided to leave office before his term ended in 1985.

When King quit, Bosso went for a while without a chairman until the late Vice-President intervened and Gumede returned.

He was given another mandate by members in 1986, the year that Bosso acquired the only properties it has to date.

That was also the year that they won every silverware on offer except the league title.

In a recent interview with our sister publication Sunday News, Gumede revealed that they actually had set their eyes on taking over Queens Sports Club, which is currently the home of cricket in Bulawayo and the country's second international cricket venue.

Bosso had planned a coup by getting their supporters to buy membership at Queens Sports Club to influence the voting process.

"We actually wanted Queens Sports Club because of the infrastructure there. We wanted to turn the cricket ground into a football pitch. We devised a plan, we were going to pay membership fees for a number of our supporters so that in a year's time, when there are elections, we take charge. I don't know how they picked it up. This was not our first choice, this place used to be the Queens Bowling Club, but the patronage was going down, they were preferring to use Callies, so the chap we were discussing with then said we can't give you Queens Sports Club, we have a good proposition, we came here, we liked the place and agreed to take it. We bought it and we were given a 99-year lease by the Bulawayo City Council," Gumede said.

Without any doubt, Gumede's footprints at Highlanders will remain forever and while some schools of thought are of the opinion that the administrative successes were a team effort, that team was led by Gumede.

A leader is always a leader, and failures and successes are attributed to him.

In modern day armies, commanders are rarely on the frontline of the battlefield and yet victories or defeats are theirs simply because they would have meticulously crafted all plans for the battle, with soldiers simply following orders.

Gumede might not have a league title medal to his name, but he laid the foundation for Amahlolanyama's first league title in 1990 under another club icon Silas Ndlovu.

Also fondly referred to as Yours Truly, Gumede left Highlanders in 1987, paving the way for Josiah Dube, who left in disgrace following financial irregularities that led to members passing a vote of no confidence in his executive. Peter Dube then took over on an interim basis.

By acquiring the Luveve camping house, Bosso no longer had to worry about camping costs, while the club house also brought in some revenue which ensured that the club had some free funds that they used to keep their players motivated.

Only Ndlovu and Ernest Sibanda share the unique distinction of having led the club to the league title as manager and chairman.

Ndlovu was Hihglanders' manager from 1972 to 1977 and returned in 1989 to guide the club through one of its most successful periods on and off the pitch.

Sibanda managed the club from 1998 to 2005 before taking over the reins as chairman.

It is also under Sibanda's chairmanship won their last league title in 2006.

Bosso won so much silverware under Gumede's chairmanship that music legend Lovemore Majaivana penned two songs dedicated to the team, Badlala njani and Emagumeni, which fans used to refer to Barbourfields Stadium.

Badlala njani lauded Gumede's astuteness as club chairman, the coach's shrewd game plans and the star players' proficiency on the pitch.

Although none of those mentioned in Badlala njani are in the Bosso set-up, the song remains the unofficial club's anthem, which is used to evoke memories of the ruthlessness of yesteryear line-ups and celebrate any win, which is never guaranteed like back then.

The saddest part is that Gumede's vision was never complemented by a league title, but what Highlanders acquired under his reign shall forever remain the pride and joy of this 95-year-old institution.

Source - Chronicle