The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s oldest football clubs Highlanders launched its 90th anniversary celebrations at Barbourfields Stadium which were, however, characterised by a low turnout probably due to wet and cold weather.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Poor organisation saw a delayed start to the programme and Sport and Recreation minister Makhosini Hlongwane who was scheduled to deliver his keynote address at 11:15am arrived at the stadium an hour earlier and had to leave only to return to deliver his speech at half-time of the main event — the Highlanders and Botswana’s Gilport Lions Royal Cup match just before 5pm.
Many of the Highlanders supporters started trickling in for the main football match.
In his speech Hlongwane said the Highlanders Football Club, established in 1926, is not only a sporting organisation but an embodiment of history, culture and identity of a people.
“We reflect on the history of this great institution popularly referred by many names as ‘Bosso’, Tshilamoyo, ‘Amahlolanyama’, ‘Ezikamaghebhula’, ‘Mantengwane’ and Bosso-lona. All these names which reflect and speak to the transformation which Highlanders has traversed since its formation back in 1926 by the two grandsons of Njube Khumalo, namely Albert and Rhodes,” he said. “This fact alone amply demonstrates that Highlanders is not only about sport, in general, and football, in particular. Highlanders is also an expression of a history, culture and identity of a people. It is an embodiment of their collective aspirations and manifestation of the indefatigable spirit of a people against colonial settler subjugations and adversity.
“Celebrating Highlanders at 90 is no small feat. Numerous teams that captured the imagination of the sporting fraternity before and after independence have either folded up or become footnotes in our sporting history. The colossus — Highlanders — has defiantly persevered and today stands tall and continues to tower over the football horizon. One cannot write Bulawayo’s multifaceted history without mentioning Highlanders.”