Monday, October 22, 2012

Highlanders supporters in unprecedented ventures


Call it crazy if you are a Bosso lazy bum or a hater, but Highlanders Football Club supporters have engaged unprecedented means and ways to take club matters into their mighty hands to assist the team players after the players boycotted training due to unpaid bonuses. In a move that has surprised many friends and foes alike, some of who laced their distaste of progress with their venomous attitudes demonstrating small minds, the brave and the broad members are pooling together small bits of cash to donate to the club for the players' bonuses.

The story is the beginning of a strong movement that Bosso fans will engage in for a more formidable and perpetual ongoing income generation. For this part of the project, those in Zimbabwe contribute a minimum of $3 towards Bosso winning bonuses through ECOCASH on 0775125454. Those outside Zimbabwe send their $3 through PAYPAL (https://www.paypal.com) using the e-mail address hfcbsa@gmail.com.

On Paypal, one looks for the option of 'payments', 'send money online' or 'send cash online' and select that choice. The prompts will require for further personal details as well as credit card information, after which the individual will be requested to enter the amount. Once the option to send is hit, one is already registered in the system and the next payments will require an even simpler process, almost hassle-free. 


This is not the way to sustain finances as a suitable financial plans on a larger scale is the responsibility of the Executive Committee who have a fund-raising committee. The voluntary exercise borne out of the great passion and unity of fans, a Facebook group, the Highlanders FC- Bosso Supporters began in enerst under the guide and watchful eye of Nqaba Donga, Liqhwa Gama and Nodumo Nyathi.

Donga ensured the availability of the Ecocash while Gama engineered the presence of Paypal for the supporters. To a few less visionary people, it emerged as an unsustainable idea of fire-fighting and looking for a paltry $3 from the poor to run a Premier League Club. Judging from the reactions in some quarters, the concept was mistaken as taking over the club finances and sponsorship.

Many did not see it as a starting point to help the team as ordinary fans, as it will go a long way in uniting fans and encourage fans to be union members and become club carrying members. The move can be dubbed the curtain-raiser of the official launching of the Highlanders Supporters Association that is awaiting the setting up of an interim committee. At this point, the draft constitution of the pending Highlanders Supporters Association is at an advanced stage and will be finalised by the Interim Committee and adopted by the masses in due time.

The South African branch has been in operation for a while and the expansion of operations and how people can be more involved will be availed in the very near future as the Interim Committee ties up loose ends.

The Highlanders supporters are brave men who should be commended for what many questioned as a 'never been done before anywhere'. While the obligation to make it better and fruitful in a way that can never be copied and perfected by anyone, mobilisation of each other to buy membership cards and subscribe to either buying cards in advance even for those in the diaspora will be central and vital. This entitles these stakeholders to vote and entrust suitable people with running the club.

The cog of the movement's intentions is the selflessness already demonstrated by handsome donations that came through already. At the time of writing, over 50 donations varying from $ to $50 have been paid or pledged.

It must be made clear that there is so many pregnant business ideas in place and a business minded people are encouraged not only to shoot down existing and running plans or to come up with new and fresh issues, but to thoroughly and exhaustively harness vehicles in place in a positive and energetic way. More importantly will be the accountability to the members.

Resources raised by this great initiative may not be enough 'but it keeps the fans together and opens room for greater ideas' as Muzi Hadebe put it. 'It should not be just coming from the executive, but members and everyone who claims to love this team from Bulawayo.'

People who proved to be forward thinkers by supporting and encouraging others like Patrick Ndlovu, George Phiri and Mlungisi Sibanda feel Bosso has never had such strong fans union to support or push for change, change that can only come when people are in the system.

The more cautious and inquisitive like Kuthula Matshazi were taken as just people who want to criticise an initiative before it even started. While he thought of it as 'not a bad in itself but a symptom of a failure of the executive to put a financial plan', he felt it was very sad and embarrassing until the nitty-gritties were explained to him. 'We have very incompetent administrators'.

While the unfortunate 'bet by my life' that - 'good as they are - these supporters' initiatives will not solve the structural final deficit' that is exactly not the point. The project ushers an era where supporters galvanise each other to do greater things to their abilities and to their satisfaction. Many forget that Zimbabwean big teams depend largely on the fans through gate takings.There is little or no sponsorship in Zimbabwe.

Bosso has been under the wing of BancABC together with Dynamos and two other teams. Business plans and initiatives tended to spoon feed the Executive led by Peter Dube are not ideal as they have either plans they inherited or theirs they have mapped during their election manifestos as well as being mandated by the constitution. The bottom line, their plate is full.

Through this union, many more fans will be having access to voting, and with a new set of members, right people will be elected and their performance checked by the fans, unlike what is happening now, where most of the followers are not members and cannot official put across their suggestions or expected changes.

As a Bosso fan with a true black and white heart, the minimum you can do, is to post on your Facebook walls and encourage all your friends to join the movement, the exodus because the volumes will count for much and it will help the team from these very humble beginnings.
This project is not meant to sustain club's financial obligation, but fans' response to an emergencies they rely on each other to assist here and now. Further fans' contribution will be essential in the future as they harness each other's resources especially getting their membership up to date and supporting plans and fundraising vehicles already in place instead of creating a new one before completion of another.

While it can be argued that the team has to play well by getting good players and attracting the crowds, $3 or so once in a while for the club's sustenance, especially if fans can do it ourselves without blaming the Executive committee they voted into power, it may be a lame diversion. To win matches, positive energy must flow from the fans, leaders and players alike. It will never be easy to attract back the supporters if the supporters attracted are shot down when they come up with immediate and practical ways and means to raise cash.

The current crop of supporters, fans and sympathisers are just a cut above the rest, given what they did and how much little time was wasted in setting up the structured and have the cash flowing in. When potential sponsors see that passion and commitment of the people as we have just seen, they see potential business and the need to associate with the club. The sponsors go where the support base is live and galvanised.

Obviously one would say to achieve this requires resources, and the fan base is that particular resource. If anything, this movement has shown very positive energy which will be the envy of many teams and clubs. The Bossolona movement would do with encouraging each other to think positively and playing a part however small. Of all the plans that they can come up with and do, this is one small and easy one for everyone. It is a simple one point plan, to just pay. The sky can only be the limit and given Bosso fans do not see skies, as many hail from Skies, there is just no limit from now on.