Thursday, June 1, 2017

Origins of Highlanders F.C of Zimbabwe

Highlanders Football Club was formed in 1926 by the Ndebele King (Mzilikazi kaMashobane)'s grandsons, Albert and Rhodes who named the team Lions Football Club. Njube, the son of King Lobengula, (son of King Mzilikazi, son of Mashobane), fathered the two.

Based in Matebeleland (Mthwakazi), at probably the first formal settlement in Bulawayo known as Makokoba Township, it comprised of players from the surrounding areas like Mzilikazi and Barbourfields.

The name changed to Matebeleland Highlanders Football Club in 1936.
The team accepted an invitation to participate in the Rhodesia National Football League (RNFL) in 1966 after which it was drafted into the Second Division playing at Greenspan grounds.

Highlanders FC gained promotion after topping the league on their first year. By 1970, the team played in the Super League but struggled to survive leading to their relegation to the First Division. Barry Daka left for coal miners, Wankie FC, who won a Cup while in the First Division.

Despite the mere 7 points of the previous campaign that saw them relegated, they were in the top flight exactly a year later.

In 1972, Tony McIlveen of Northern Ireland using his semi-professional experience from his team Crusaders FC of the Irish League joined Bosso, boosting the team‟s excellence.
So much was his influence that in 1973, Highlanders FC won their first major cup, the Chibuku Trophy. They beat respectable copper miners, Mangula FC at Rufaro Stadium.

(The author, Keutsepilemang Ndebele, is a coach and coach instructor, holds Advanced Diploma of Foreign Coaches and Trainers on Brazilian Football CAF License and the English FA International License. He assisted in FIFA/IOC Solidarity Committee course instructor obtaining certification.
His is a former Technical Advisor of Highlanders F.C and Witbank Spurs, a former Team Manager and coach of Railstars FC and lower Division teams. He is the founding Director of Keutsepilemang Football Academy and e-Diski Football Academy.)