Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS legend Alexander Maseko has questioned the effectiveness of the club’s membership model in helping sustain the institution.
Maseko believes Bosso should do away with the current life membership or remodel it and make it mandatory for life members to contribute financially on a monthly or annual basis to help cushion the club.
“Look, I have never been a fan of the membership model at our club; it’s archaic and not helpful to Highlanders, particularly the life membership. What is it that they are doing for the club besides boasting that they’re life members?” said Maseko.
“Surely you can’t beat your chest for being a life member when you probably paid $2 a long time ago and you think that money is still helping the club to date. No it’s not and something must be done about that. I appreciate that what they contributed then could have assisted the club, but it must not be a one-off contribution,” he said.
Being a life member of any institution, he said, comes with huge responsibilities, especially for an institution like Highlanders.
“Let’s have a turnaround strategy on that model. Every card carrying life member ought to be contributing monthly to the club because it shouldn’t be cheap to hold such a card. Only life members must have the right to stand for office. Ordinary members to me are far better because they at least put money in the club’s coffers every year, although that model too needs to have certain clauses like not being allowed to stand for office so that people get motivated to become life members,” said Maseko.
He said if the membership model is not restructured, it’s probably high time the club floated shares for anyone to buy.
“Here I am talking of share ownership and not ownership of the club. IBosso ayilamnikazi, float shares and commercialise the club because this tired mantra of saying ayisoze ibulawe won’t help. Izakufa siyikhangele because of such forces that don’t want to move with the times.
“So, to me really, the future of Highlanders, based on the current challenges, is uncertain unless we make radical and even painful decisions on how to sustain it. We get worried when almost every day we read about financial problems, which makes some, even within the Highlanders’ family, happy,” said the Cool Ruler, who was in the first Highlanders’ team to win the league title in 1990.
Maseko was snapped up by South African Premier Soccer League giants Mamelodi Sundowns in 1992 and won his first league title on foreign soil the following year.
There have previously been suggestions that Highlanders should adopt the Barcelona ownership model if members insist that the club remains wholly owned by paid up members.
Being a Barcelona club member is not as straightforward or as simply as filling a form and pay.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate a familial tie to an existing Barcelona member or serve a probation period as a commitment card carrier.
This is done to prevent infiltration by elements bent on destroying the club from inside.
An aspiring member has an obligation of showing a photocopy of two family members’ national identification documents that are already members and an official document or family record confirming the relationship.
Familial relationships between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, married couples and registered partners, brothers and sisters (and in-laws), parents and children-in-law, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and cousins are accepted.
Membership is US$211 annually.
If an aspirant has no reference, he or she applies for a commitment card, which is renewable upon payment of US$165 yearly for three years before being accepted as a member with full rights.
The Catalonia giants have a membership of over 170 000, guaranteeing them over US$35 million in revenue annually.