Lenox Lizwi Mhlanga
THE Highlanders fraternity are all set to elect new officials to fill in two crucial posts in the executive. That is, the posts of vice-chairman and that of treasurer.
I am sure that by now the candidates have wrapped up their campaigns, while members have made up their minds as to who they will vote for. So my opinion here won’t be worth two cents in influencing the outcome.
Save for me to say that none of the candidates bought me anything, despite spirited efforts from me for them to buy me drinks. That in itself means two things, that I am of no consequence to their campaigns and that they don’t know me. Fine.
Who am I anyway in the convoluted matrix that is Bosso politics? Well, admittedly I am nothing but a paid up member. I am a concerned supporter for that matter.
Many a times during the past two years I have been on the verge of cardiac arrest (heart attack) because of the performance or lack of it of my beloved team.
It has been so bad that my doctor advised that for health reasons I should stay clear of Highlanders games. That didn’t help because I still would get the bad news, that my team played dismally on the pitch.
So I came to one conclusion, that I had to have someone to blame if I had a heart attack, and duly sue them for medical expenses. If I came out alive, that is.
Then I asked myself whether I should blame the coach. The answer to that was a short and simple no. The reason being that coaches are appointed by someone and they have to be accountable to the appointing authority, in this case the executive.
Which brings me to the elections next week Sunday. We just have to elect people that we will hold accountable. Its just as bad that we cannot change the other officials that will not be up for election. We have to start somewhere.
The small band of paid up members that elect our officials should not be swayed by bravado or sweet-nothings. A proven track record is one parameter we can use. The other should be a clear sight of the Highlanders vision.
The other, is to be realistic. Those elected should know that they will be part of a team so individualism will not work. The vision is already there, the challenge is to drive the team towards it.
If at all the people we elect into office could do one thing right, that is to ensure that we are not beaten by Dynamos, I and many others would be very happy indeed.
We get so emotional when we play this team. It is also an undeniable fact that Dynamos, despite their troubles, have had the better of Highlanders.
That is not good for my health, and that of the economy of Bulawayo. A Bosso win is a fundamental driver of a comatose economy that is our beloved city. If the executive had that in mind, then I don’t see why the players cannot realise why its so important to win games.
And I haven’t included the other millions of fans nationwide and across the globe. The responsibility that the executive carries is immense indeed.
Moreso because this year, Highlanders celebrates 90 years of existence. It’s a time to be happy as well as reflect on a rich history that has spanned epochs. Celebrations are planned for the whole year and I am informed that these will be launched on February28, 2016.
Let us be mindful of the significance of this year. We should instil this in our coaching staff and players so that they are under no illusion of the burden of hope they carry.
I have said this before and I will say it again. As the First Son of Highlanders, my father, Jonathan Temba, popularly known as J Temba, being the president of the team, I have high expectations of the team that will be in place after next Sunday.
Our family used to host Bosso players at our home at Mhlahlandlela in Tshabalala when my father was in the executive in the 1970’s and 80’s. My father dipping into the family budget to support his passion.
He did this voluntarily and to this day expects no compensation. He played his part in building an institution that is bigger than any individual.
So while most of my age-mates only saw their heroes on the pitch, I had the likes of Douglas “SekaNoe” Mloyi, Lawrence “Lofty” Isaac Mafaro, Tommy “Squeezer” Masuku, Peter Zimuto or Itai Chiedza, stars of the seventies, sleeping in our bedroom during camp.
I don’t claim to wear Highlanders on my sleeve neither do I have some monopoly of iTeam yezwe lonke. I speak for many that when our favourite team loses for whatever reason, it hits us hard.
Make no mistake about it, Highlanders supporters are tough on the players and the executive. They have long memories and abafihlumphini. We will call a spade a spade, especially if we are not happy with the team’s performance.
I implore the executive not to take criticism personally. It’s a burden they have to carry by being elected to the posts that they hold. Yes sacrifices are made, but bear in mind that there are others before you who willingly made that choice.
Highlanders supporters are very easy to please. Just win us the games we deserve to win. We will give the executive the support they deserve and will invest in the team that has stood the test of time.
To those that are vying for posts, may the best man win. Mindful of the fact that kabangithengelanga utshwala. Akulandaba!
Just do your best at spreading happiness to the Happy People in 2016 when we celebrate 90 years of “Our Heritage — Our Institution: Kayisoz’ ibulawe.”