Highlanders supporters have come up with an initiative to raise funds that will be donated to the club for player welfare as the clubs grapples with the COVID-19-induced delay to the start of the season.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Bosso are struggling financially and player as well as technical team welfare has been affected. The Bulawayo giants have been forced to wean off coach Mark Harrison, whose salary was pegged in US dollars.
Supporters fear that the club could lose some of its best players and one of the club members and United Kingdom-based radio personality Ezra “Tshisa” Sibanda has started co-ordinating the programme to pool funds.
Sibanda, who in the past has made donations to the club through crowdfunding initiatives, said he fears the club might sink into oblivion and urged club members to come to the party.
“Highlanders family, our club faces a bleak future following withdrawal of NetOne sponsorship.
It’s time to get together and help our pride. The dire economic situation in Zimbabwe will make it very difficult for a community club like Highlanders to operate and be successful. The oldest and arguably the most supported team in Zimbabwe can’t unwind and go into extinction on our watch,” Sibanda said.
He appealed to each of the members to contribute at least US$5.
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“I am appealing to all the social media groups using Bosso name to urge all their members to donate at least US$5 each to the club and we will raise enough money to run the club for the whole season. We have so many Highlanders groups on Facebook from all over the world with tens of thousands of members. You then ask yourself what are all those people doing for the club? Surely if those groups were created as a sign to show their love and support for the club then lets do the right thing and save our great club,” he said.
The club is said to have around 5 000 registered members.
Benefactors have, in the past, paid part of salaries for Bosso’s foreign coaches The popular former ZBC Radio Two disc jockey, who takes time off from the UK, to attend the club’s annual general meetings, is worried about the welfare of the players if they are going to miss out on their remuneration.
Sibanda said he has since engaged the club and been given the greenlight to co-ordinate the fundraising initiative.
“Our players need to be paid their salaries and allowances, we cant risk losing our best players to sugar daddy teams which are waiting in anticipation to grab our talented boys using the power of money,” he said.
NetOne pays salaries for the technical team and players and is responsible for other expense during the course of the season but is reportedly withdrawing its sponsorship.
“We have got to rise up and help Bosso stand up on its knees and play the game while giving us joy, entertainment and happiness. Highlanders has brought smiles to millions of miserable and suffering people in our country. We all know watching Bosso is therapeutic, it makes people feel good about themselves and forget about day to day problems,” Sibanda said.
A South African chapter of the club supporters is also engaged in raising funds in an effort to clear the club’s legacy debts.