THE country’s oldest football club, Highlanders, commemorates its 90th anniversary next month with a series of events lined up to spice the occasion.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The 90th anniversary celebrations will be launched on February 28 and Bosso has approached Bulawayo City Council seeking permission to use the tennis courts outside Barbourfields Stadium as a venue for the celebrations, which will stretch to the end of the year on December 11.
Bosso was founded in 1926 by King Lobengula’s grandsons, Albert and Rhodes, as Lions Football Club, and assumed the name Highlanders in 1936 as Matabeleland Highlanders Football Club.
The celebrations are being organised by Highlanders board member Luke Mnkandla, who chairs the club’s marketing sub-committee.
“It is with this mandate that the sub-committee approached Amakhosi Productions, as a leading entertainment institution, to produce an event where the citizens of Matabeleland and Zimbabwe are free to participate in the commemoration and celebration of this legendary club together as a family,” Mkandla said.
“We have planned for a year-long series of events ending on December 11, 2016, with yet another big event. It is with this background that Amakhosi Department of Cultural Tourism, that is already working closely with Bulawayo City Council to tell the historical story of Bulawayo and its citizens to the world, took up the challenge and is producing an all-year round IBosso@90 2016 Celebration Series.”
Bulawayo City Council has resolved to allow Bosso to launch their celebrations on their facility free of charge, but for other activities that will be taking place throughout the year, the city fathers will lease the tennis courts to Highlanders at 20% of the normal rates.
This follows a request by the Cont Mhlanga-led Amakhosi Cultural Centre.
“It was resolved to recommend that the tennis grounds next to Barbourfields be leased to Highlanders Football Club for a period of one year at 20% of normal lease rates (City Valuer to provide rate),” part of a council report read.
“That the director of housing and community services negotiates with Highlanders Football Club for the use of grounds by other stakeholders during the tenure of the lease. That in respect of the grand event the venue (Barbourfields Stadium) be offered free of charge to the applicant.”
Mnkandla said his committee was meeting with various stakeholders, including chapters of the Highlanders’ supporters across the country, to make arrangements for the celebrations.
“February 28 is just the launch. And for every home game, we intend to have an activity. It is premature for me to give a statement now. I engaged Amakhosi to help mobilise the events and they are also providing their services for free.”
Last month, Sport and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane said his ministry could also consider taking part in Bosso’s 90th anniversary celebrations.
“We must then say how, then as the ministry and government we come in into the conversations. A lot of clubs have folded because of a number of reasons, key among them that the economy has not been doing well. Highlanders have been able to ride the wave and this is commendable,” he said.