Much ado about nothing . . . Chaos, utter confusion mar Highlanders AGM
Innocent Kurira. Sports Reporter
IT was exactly 10:00AM, immediately after the opening prayer at the Highlanders Football Club Annual General Meeting (AGM) when former club chairman Peter Dube rose to address members gathered inside a tent pitched at the Bosso clubhouse.
Dube is part of the Highlanders board of directors and while it is the norm that the board and executive sit on the high table, it is unusual for board to address the club’s members right at the beginning of proceedings.
Dube, cool, calm, and collected, delivered news that quickly raised temperatures amongst the listening members.
He informed the members that the meeting would forgo the presentation of financials as the auditors were still working on the report. From there, you could hear the grumbling inside the tent that had around 130 card-carrying members.
Some members openly called for the meeting not to go ahead, citing a huge irregularity, not because of the absence of financials only but because that matter was announced by a non-executive member.
While this became the major talking point during and after last Sunday’s meeting, the Chronicle Sports, which was allowed all access to the meeting, has come up with five major highlights from the Bosso AGM that almost never was.
No Financial Report
This is not the first time a Bosso AGM has proceeded without the financials. The same thing happened in 2021 but then it was explained that the financials would come in a week’s time.
The announcement/apology by former chairman Peter Dube, that there would be no presentation of financials, left people wondering why the chairman or perhaps the treasurer, who were present did not undertake that responsibility. It cast huge doubts on the capabilities of the finance man. The fact that the treasurer did not take the stage and face the club membership and field their questions meant that the issue of financials dominated proceedings throughout the day with members raising the issue even when other issues were on the table. Bosso is now expected to call for another meeting where the club’s financials will be explained.
This was also a topical issue and it still is to date. Members were adamant the club should prioritise players from the Matabeleland region regardless of their tribe and poach players from outside only if they have exceptional talent. Some members suggested there was a possible recruitment scam within the technical team.
They alleged there could be underhand dealings with deserving players from the club’s development ranks being deliberately overlooked and players from outside the city of Bulawayo being preferred. The case in question is that of a certain player who was brought into Bosso 90 at the age of 24. Bosso should tap from within the region the members argued.
Joel Luphahla Puzzle
Bosso has already said there will be changes to their technical team setup. However, club chairman Johnfat Sibanda could not be drawn into revealing what changes are to be made. Sources within Highlanders say Joel Luphahla will either be registered as a kit manager or welfare manager as he is not qualified to sit on the technical bench as an assistant coach. Vezigama Dlodlo is Highlanders’ welfare manager, but indications are that he is likely to be reassigned to head the juniors.
However, some club members had reservations about the setup of the technical structure. They questioned why the club had chosen to keep Luphahla yet they were fully aware he was not qualified to sit on the bench as an assistant coach. Luphahla is a Caf C holder while head coaches in the Premier Soccer League as well as their assistants are required to have Caf A.
Those in support of Highlanders keeping Luphahla argued that the former Warriors winger did not misrepresent his qualifications when Bosso took him from Golden Eagles last year and point to the financial implications should Bosso decide to fire him since they have to pay him for the remaining months of his deal. Former Highlanders utility player Abraham Mbaiwa is part of the Bosso pre-season preparations after replacing Harold Nhachi as the fitness trainer.
Board Doesn’t Run the Show
There has long been a notion that the board controls proceedings at Highlanders. Board chairman Luke Mkandla tried to dispel that perception saying the club belongs to the members but his explanation was greeted with disbelief.
Need To Embark On A Membership Drive
Last season saw the Highlanders register more fans at the football stadium than any other club in the domestic league.
However, last Sunday less than 140 members were in attendance to make crucial decisions on the club. What is of concern is the lack of the youth who are meant to carry on the club’s legacy. The future of the club cannot be safe if the youth are not taking initiative to be directly part of the club by being card-carrying members. It’s not enough to go to the stadium every Sunday and even travel for away matches but there is a need to have more youths partaking in the decision-making at the club.