COMMENT: Highlanders leadership must not drop the ball

24 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
COMMENT: Highlanders  leadership must  not drop the ball Tino Machakaire

The Sunday News

A FOOTBALL club is different from any other business entity. The stakeholders, in this case are the fans. The fans’ investment is their support, while their return comes in the form of the emotional gratification all football fans desire, be it through chasing promotion, surviving relegation or a cup run. In order to guarantee this return, all a football club needs to do is exist.”

Former chairman of Southend United (UK) Mark Rubin was quoted further in the Guardian saying in order to guarantee the future of all football clubs, the worlds of football and business have to work together. He argued that for too long, football clubs have not followed the basic principles of running any successful business.

“When I was chairman of Southend United, I applied four basic principles that I still use today in varying guises to run a successful business. Firstly, employ a manager who knows what he is doing. Secondly, unless absolutely necessary, do not sack him — continuity breeds success and it allows a good manager to buy into and develop an idea.

Thirdly, use all income generated to run the club — players need to be paid fairly and on time, while bills must also be paid promptly. Fourthly, to generate further income, assets must be made to “sweat”. In the case of the football club this, for example, includes ensuring the most is made through shirt sponsorship opportunities and corporate sales (all, of course, while ensuring all fans who want to support the club are not priced out of doing so).”

While his club is not well known worldwide, his sentiments make a lot of sense, and local clubs will be much better if they borrow some of his leadership principles. What has to be understood from the word go is that a football club is a business, and it has to be run as such. It is a business because it has employees to be paid, and it also has other expenses to meet come month end and at the same time, it also makes some income through gate takings, sell of memorabilia and sponsorship.

Highlanders is one local football club that has a history of sound leadership. Years back, it was more than just a football club, as it collaborated with other sporting disciplines like volleyball, women’s football, karate, basketball and rugby. Furthermore, it managed to acquire properties such as the Luveve camping house, club offices in the city centre and the recreation club which also has training grounds. Such a feat is a marvel to any sporting organisation in the country and even beyond.

The foundation laid by administrators of yester years like Ndumiso Gumede and Silas Ndlovu gave the club an edge over others as it lead in terms of sound administration and professionalism. The club is led by an executive which is voted into office by club members at prescribed intervals, and there is also a board that has a key role to play in ensuring that things are run according to the constitution.

People can argue on the calibre of the leadership at any given time, but what is key is that processes and rules are there, unlike in some football clubs.

It is that history of sound leadership that is helping the club get out of the hood today. The massive sponsorship that the club got recently from Sakunda Holdings is testimony to that corporates would want to associate with well-run football clubs, and leaders at Highlanders must make sure that they keep raising the bar so as to attract more friends.

“I would like to appreciate the work that has been done by Ndumiso Gumede and the team to have these offices. I have looked at the offices and seen how dilapidated they are. We will be making arrangements such that the renovation of the offices starts on Monday….I was down with sickness for some months and when l came back, they told me about the situation at Highlanders and we decided to come in and help. Primarily it was Highlanders that we wanted to assist and later on Dynamos came into the picture. I believe Highlanders should continue as a community team.

This is the best model for the team and we will assist where we can,” said Sakunda Holdings director Mr Kuda Tagwirei last week when he visited the club offices.

Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Hon Tino Machakaire also congratulated the club for being organised.

“I would like to thank you Highlanders for being organised. I would also want to thank the main sponsor for their support for Highlanders. I am actually one of the Highlanders’ supporters and I will be supporting the club through and through.”

Sakunda Holdings recently announced a sponsorship package of $75 million for both Dynamos and Highlanders. The structure of the agreement will see Sakunda providing US$420 000 towards payment of salaries for players and the technical team. Each club will also receive US$60 000 each year for signing-on fees. There is US$200 000 for Bosso or DeMbare if they win the league title and US$150 000 bonus for qualifying for the Caf Champions League.

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