Saturday, June 15, 2013

Highlanders fans can assist raise club funds easily

After the hype, funfare and aplomb of the BancABC-cum-ESport-cum-Adidas Highlanders/Dynamos replica jersey deal, the reality of delivery over speeches is hitting the Bosso fans who await the first sight of the promised good. It is claimed Dynamos started selling their wares last week. The clubs went into a deal that would see the fans fork out $50.00 for the benefit of $3.50 for their clubs.

Many hoped to snap the jerseys upon delivery but the spirits have been dampened by the unspecified delays. Questions have been raised as to how the Hararians got their stock but as usual; there will be no speculation from our quarters. 

It interested many people how we suggested fans can don the shirts for less. The idea was to raffle a jersey for a $1.00 with 100 tickets. That way, the club would net $53.50 per item going to the club. The little knowledge gained from the experience of being Technical Advisor of the biggest club in Zimbabwe showed me how difficult it may be to do business with the club. The Highlanders FC Executive Committee members are busy people having to run their lives, families, jobs and the club.

The least that can happen is that they accept donations of cash collected or given by well-wishers. Even that is a process. The issue is that nobody is in a position to take unilateral decisions. The complication extends further if there are sponsors involved. The approval of the board is not a mean feat either.

Given that, at this point, all should be aware the club is said to be entering 'good times' with things on the horizon. Many people are working tirelessly behind the scenes. It is the scenes that we want to dwell on. Efforts to form a Highlanders Football Club Supporters Association were fruitful and theirs was driven by the Facebook Group of the same name.

For the benefit of the club and the followers, it this Group that must just try to take the bull by the horns, make money and donate to the club, say FORCE it into the club. The group can get the replicas and raffle them as part of their own mandate outside club structures. A turn-off for many has been how there has always been an issue with making money for Bosso.

Discussions that there was people who sold the club colours and merchandise without anything being donated or offered to the club - like these selling flags, T-shirts, badges, hats on the streets and stadia. The self-propelled entrepreneurs are visionary and energetic but they operate outside the mandate of the club for their enrichment. The club seems content with that. There is a claim of a Bosso car wash which may or may not be linked with the club.

If a constituted body like the supporters association took it upon themselves to regularise and officalise the operation, they would hit a brick wall. Acting on their own, they will be brandished dissidents working without the blessing of the club, yet they work to benefit the club. That is however the only way out.

Bongani Mafu. a prominent and highly qualified coach who I worked with in educating coaches years back was full of wonder. "I keep failing to understand something here. I thought if a group wanted to raise money and buy say footballs for the club, they just go ahead and raise the funds, buy the targeted equipment then approach the executive with a concrete object. Why would there be need for a 'blessing' to raise funds?"

This point surely came at a point when a group of individuals had to ask for the 'blessings of the club' to assist the Clubhouse, and the project stalled as a result. Many may not wish to recall a car that was donated to the club for use by the coach and the donation was unwelcome somehow.  

He goes on to say "People have donated money and equipment to Bosso before. I am positive none started by getting permission to do so. People must get organised, donate the monies somehow as a group and buy the equipment!".  His suggestion even went further to a point of approaching the company selling what is to be bought so donations would go straight to the club rather than coming from individuals.

People wanting to suggest or give advice to the Executive waste a lot of time. That committee has a constituted mandate to fulfill and their tasks are measured in terms of time rather than delivery. They enter history books whatever the outcome of their tenure, unfortunately.

Robert Ndlovu was however of the opinion that the club is not a ‘charity case’ and therefore should not depend on donations. While true, this fact has been sysnonymous with the club as hand and glove. “The club has capacity to self-sustain if they use their brand properly. Don’t give a man fish. Teach him how to fish. When people live on donations they become lazy. Just a fact”.

There would be support for this. “It is the management that should come with a massive turn-around strategy to ease the financial woes of the club even if it means selling the club assets.” In fact, I share the opinions but just. If possible, someone could have done this decades ago.

The truth is, with or without fishing tools and skill, Bosso cannot or will not not fish. That one hard fact that is incomprehensible. It is the same with many executives since Ndumiso Gumede's days when the club managed to buy the properties it has to date – the office, the clubhouse and the house in Luveve. Bosso cannot come up with a plan. That sounds harsh too. Given a plan, they cannot implement it at all somehow. You may ask what they can do then. I can confirm that they can spend the money, which is the reason why they will do with donations.

The clubhouse utilisation is said to have a long term solution with solid plans in the pipeline, to the club and we await further details. With or without the board and club executive committee blessings, it would be prudent for the owners of the club, the fans, to use the club's name to raise funds for the club. There is no fraud there. Fraud would be running the club dry, especially a brand like Bosso.

One hopes the jerseys will arrive, the supporters will do what they want and pump the money into the club coffers. BancABC should also pull up their socks and supply alternative kits for the team to avoid embarrassing situations like the one that saw the team 'borrow' a kit. It could be just incompetence on the part of the management in which case, it is not acceptable.