TIMES are changing and so Bulawayo giants Highlanders are also moving with modern trends.
The oldest club in the country introduced a red kit as their optional colours last season to the amusement and ridicule of the conservative section of the fans.
It was not a mistake, but in line with the organisation's trajectory towards engaging a profitable business strategy.
Highlanders has been using the red kit a lot in the pre-season as they prepare for the 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season.
At this stage it will not be a surprise to see Bosso in blue and white, which are the primary colours of their archrivals Dynamos.
Highlanders insist they will not stop using other colours besides the traditional black and white strip as optional kits in future as a business strategy.
But the good news at the moment is that club chief executive officer Ronald Moyo has said the red kit will not be registered this year.
"We are not (registering the red kit). Optional kits change every time. Liverpool for instance; check their merchandising pattern. Closer to home, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns, " Moyo said.
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"We had the red kit as our optional kit last season. Whilst it’s public knowledge that red is part and parcel of the Highlanders history, the decision to introduce other colours for our optional kits are largely commercial.
"We have always said ‘Highlanders must be run as a business’, that’s the business part of it. Clubs we envy and always use as examples for Highlanders to emulate make these decisions for commercial reasons. They play around their optional kits to speak to fashion and activate different markets for their merchandise.
"We are taking baby steps towards that direction as a club, and we are happy that whilst a section of our market didn’t like the red strip, we still had a segment of our target market who liked and bought its replica jerseys."
Highlanders was established in 1926 and used the red colour.
The black and white strip was later adopted as the Matabeleland part was dropped for the team to remain Highlanders and Moyo further explained the commercial inclination attached to the use of other colours.
"People don't understand. When it comes to the optional kit you play around colours because that is where you make money in terms of merchandise. Market trends in your traditional colours get saturated.
"Can you imagine with Highlanders there are people who still have the black and white BancABC, replica, the OTB and then there is Sakunda. All are black and white stripes. How do you expect the same people to come and buy the same stripe again this season. They won't. It does not make business sense. The optional kit gives you space to play around fashion to make people buy something new," Moyo said.
Moyo stated that the challenge was that the club is failing to realise generational gaps, which are large in terms of marketing.
"We are a club with people from different generations. If you look at the people pushing the narrative that we are strictly black and white; they are a particular generation. If you look at our merchandise now, you rarely find the youths from your 16-year-olds buying because those traditional colours do not speak to the fashion trends of their generation," he said.
But away from the colours, the Highlanders fan will be worried more about the performances of the club which has failed to win the championship since 2006.
They will begin their 2023 season campaign at home to ZPC Kariba, before they visit Black Rhinos and then host champions FC Platinum on match day three.