Sikhumbuzo Moyo Senior Sports Reporter—
HIGHLANDERS FC made a loss of $40,000 in the 2015 season while their cumulative debt stands at just over half a million dollars. The debt has, however, gone down, both in the year under review and accumulatively, largely due to the clearing of some players’ dues and the writing off of some arrears. This came out at the club’s annual general meeting held at the club house that lasted about seven hours in Bulawayo yesterday.
According to the treasurer’s report, which was only read out but not made available to members and the media, Highlanders made a loss of $39,887 in the 2015 season compared to just over $60,000 in 2014. Cumulatively, the club’s debt stands at $576,702.
The club got most of its income from gate takings with $126,887 being realised from league and cup games. The home league match against Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium left Highlanders with $25,965, while only $123 was realised from their home game against ZPC Kariba.
A total of $13,220 was realised in the 5-1 win over How Mine, while Triangle United’s visit to Barbourfields Stadium left Bosso with $12,422. These were the only three matches in which Highlanders realised figures over $10,000.
However, there was no deliberation on how the club hopes to extinguish its alarming debt. Instead, members spent most of the time criticising what other speakers would have said. Even the executive did not say how they intended dealing with the debt issue.
The meeting started off at an explosive and emotional pace, with fiery former wrestler Allan “The Ripper” Mpofu having a go at Highlanders’ chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede who had made some gestures as Mpofu was making a point.
Mpofu wanted to know from executive chairman Peter Dube how they had reached the decision to co-opt Donald Ndebele as club treasurer despite him having lost in two previous elections.
“Respect me Gumede as my elder because if you don’t I too will lose the respect I’ve for you. I’ve been given the podium to speak and you’re interjecting,” said an angry Mpofu.
Dube did not help matters either with his response, much to the chagrin of Mpofu who told him there was no need for emotions to boil over. Dube had demanded that Mpofu respects the meeting by not raising minor arguments.
The meeting also heard that Highlanders had sealed agreements with 23 players and that three new players are expected to join the Bulawayo giants before the beginning of the season.
Some of the players the club has since agreed terms with include goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, defenders Erick Mudzingwa, Honest Moyo, Felix Chindungwe and Bruce Kangwa.
King Nadolo, Rahman Kutszanzira, Simon Munawa, Peter Muduhwa, Godfrey Makaruse and Gabriel Nyoni have all been retained, and so has Knox Mutizwa.
Mutizwa had been expected to join South African Premiership side Bidvest Wits after impressing during a trial stint, but nothing about the issue was raised at the meeting.
Veteran striker Ralph Matema is yet to agree terms with Bosso. “The players we’ve listed here are those that we’ve agreed terms with. Those whom we’re still talking to aren’t on the list,” said Dube without naming the players.
The four candidates vying for the vice-chairmanship in next Sunday’s elections incumbent Mgcini Mpofu, Nkosinathi Ncube, Modern Ngwenya and Kenneth Mhlophe as well as incumbent treasurer Ndebele and his challenger Charles Ndlovu were only acknowledged in passing and will be formally presented before the elections.
All candidates will then be given an opportunity to campaign before the members.