Friday, June 9, 2017

How Highlanders FC operated

Money in the game is in TV, technical sponsorship and endorsements. If there should be anything on TV, boy it better be good to watch.

Are Bosso there yet? Be it on the screen or pitch, fans want to see enjoyable football. The more it is attractive, the happier the sponsors are. Since the days of tobacco touchline advertising in the stadia ended, Induna Foods took giant steps in helping Highlanders in yesteryear. They did their part.

Brewers of liquor and beer would only be interested in the global picture to carter for all teams and the league. The corporate support will join hands with sound leadership and lack of such scares the lot out of them.

How interactive they become with the club depends on the confidence they have in that leadership. The decision-makers want to go to bed knowing their investment is pregnant.

What may not be a bad idea at all is to transform the Club and turn it into a company. South African teams have done that successfully. While people fear that it tends to become a personal property with a corporate structure, the same people are not paying a cent towards the up keep of the Club.

Highlanders need to think big to make the Club a global brand like Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. FC Barcelona is always another example. Someone must take the decision.

List the Club as a company on the stock market. In that way, interaction with the outside footballing world becomes feasible. Twinning with American and European clubs like LA Galaxy, Barcelona or Arsenal and even Asian for that matter, would mean that the Club is working at a higher corporate level that calls for more professionalism.

South African clubs are also well equipped to enter strong partnerships with the Club, since the league relies on the talent produced in Zimbabwe. It boils down to the professionalism of the Club management.

The card-carrying Highlanders FC members headed to the polls to vote for the next Committee to run the affairs of the club. The question of the quality and validity of the voters is a perennial doubt.

Hiring mercenaries for a dime may get someone elected to lead the Club. Administrators like Ndumiso Gumede, Malcolm King, Ilan Elkaim, Roger Muhlwa and Wyatt Mpofu tried to make
the club respectable.

The team won Chibuku Trophy, Rothmans and Independence Cups and Heroes Shields and many championships.

The issue of revenue always attracted diverse opinions. Some would infringe on the constitution of the club. As shown later on, there is a way out. 

Since those days, the Club entered into an agreement with a supermarket chain, Buscod to pay staff. The Inscor Group also donated a percentage of their bread sales to the club. Both situations are not enough to take the club’s finances out of the murky waters.

Over the years, sale of memorabilia injected a small steady stream of income. Fake prints were the thorny part. With the sea of black and white T-shirts and umbrellas, only a small percentage would be genuine Bosso material and many people did not care.

There has been suggestions of getting the 4000 registered members to pay US$5 monthly to raise US$20 000 for the upkeep of players. It was thought that if the same number actually paid US$50, the US$1 500 000 would fit the annual budget of the club.

Bosso supporters can do much better. It is high time things and attitudes changed, if taking the serious step you are about to read will be a success. The assumption is that if the 30 000 football loving BF crowd would pay a similar annual fee at the start of the season a certain amount of cash would be raised.

Usually, people want to pay for something. One cannot be sure about how buying or building a Highlanders Stadium at the Club House will generate revenue, as many think. Of course in the long term, but Bosso needs solution now to get there.

The perception is that the Club House itself underutilised. For that reason, wild suggestions of selling the property have flown but that is being mischievous. 

From the book; "What Highlanders Need Right Now! currently available on www.amazon.com as an e-book, Kindle version and paperback for $0.99 limited promotion. Keutsepilemang Ndebele is a former Highlanders Football Club Technical Advisor (2001).