Highlanders suspend former chairman ‘Mapepa’ Sibanda


Former Highlanders chairman and Warriors manager Ernest Sibanda has been suspended by his club for three years following financial discrepancies in the transfer of striker Obadiah Tarumbwa to Cercle Brugge in Belgium.
Sibanda is a former player and life member of the team, having won four consecutive league championships with Highlanders under the late James Mangwana-Tshuma as manager between 1998/1999 and 2002.
Tarumbwa moved to Belgium on a six month deal in 2007 after Sibanda had won his first chairmanship the previous year.
His figures were never released, but a some of $3 400 was allegedly misappropriated during the transfer and in the 2009 elective general assembly, Sibanda made an undertaking that he will pay back the money.
But the Highlanders Board of Directors secretary Jimmy Ncube wrote to Sibanda advising him of the suspension as the club felt the financial transactions had not been handled to the best interests of the club.
Said Ncube: I cannot comment on that as this is information that will be availed to club members in the half year meeting on 11 July before it is released to the press.
“However the issue was discussed at the Annual General Meeting in January.”
Sibanda though confirmed he had received the letter of suspension.
“I have received the letter but I have not replied as yet. I only spoke to them and asked If I was free to join a club of my choice and they gave me the go ahead.
“They said they were not satisfied with the handling of the Obadiah issue and things had not gone in the right direction.
“I am considering my options for now as to the future,” Sibanda said.
At the AGM in January, club lawyer Nicholas Mathonsi, now a High Court Judge, asked the meeting to confirm that Tarumbwa’s transfer to Cercle Brugge had been done above board, to which the Dumisani Sandi board confirmed that.
Observers are now questioning how the board then proceeded after the AGM to ban Sibanda when they had earlier said he had not committed any crime. Sibanda was suspended from all club activities, which range from meetings to their darts affiliate, where he was also a player.
Although he could not confirm his destination, reliable sources said Sibanda is headed towards Methembe Ndlovu’s Bantu Rovers.
Rovers is a Highlanders off shoot, from the team management to the players.
Some of the former Highlanders personnel at Bantu include Ndlovu, coach Gift Lunga senior, his assistant Melusi Sibanda, and players like Herbert Dick and Johannes Ngodzo.
Bekithemba Ndlovu on his return from South Africa also played for Bantu with Tarumbwa before he left for Cyprus, where he stars for Enosis Paralimni.