The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
TAKING Highlanders back to the people is what Johnfat Sibanda seeks to achieve if he is elected as the club’s executive chairman next month.
Sibanda, who is going up against incumbent Kenneth Mhlophe for the highest position in the Bosso executive said Highlanders people know what they want and his desire is to save Amahlolanyama since he knows the club’s culture.
“I am going there to try and save Highlanders, I am going there to be chairman of Highlanders and serve the people of Highlanders. Highlanders people know what they want, I am promising them that if they want their aspirations to be carried out, here is a candidate who is prepared to implement that. The new thing I am promising is to implement what they have been crying for, to save Highlanders from demise. Someone who has been with Highlanders for years who knows the culture, who knows where it’s coming from and where it’s going,’’ Sibanda said.
He feels that for Highlanders to return to where they used to be, there is a need for greater participation by its people.
“To restore the Highlanders culture, the glamour of Highlanders through participation of its people, Highlanders is a people driven team, I can’t bring anything new on my own, that would be folly. Highlanders people have great brains, there are people who think much better than me, they know what they want, they have spoken, all that is needed is to implement what they want.
“I believe that is the missing link between Highlanders and its own people. They know what they want, they want junior policy, they want Highlanders to commercialise all its entities, they must be run profitably, those grounds, even if they are not world class, they must bring revenue to Highlanders,’’ he said.
Sibanda is of the view that Highlanders is declining at a rapid pace and he cannot fold his hands since he has been with the club for a long time.
The 60-year-old has been a Bosso life member since 1997, the year he also ventured into business. He feels that the suspension of vice-chairman Modern Ngwenya and secretary-general Israel Moyo in 2019 was a sign that there is no harmony at Highlanders.
“What is the fundamental issue here is that Highlanders is going down at a very fast rate and if people like me who have been with this club for a long time are still with the club and see it going that far it’s painful. There is no unity at Highlanders, we have seen it with the suspension of executive members, we don’t know why. There is no transparency in the club’s dealings because members don’t even know what’s happening, we hear from the grapevine.
“I can’t sit back and see Highlanders crumbling to its knees when I am there, indeed others have been there, we were assisting each other but others don’t want to be assisted, it’s now like the club belongs to individuals. I am trying to say let’s take Highlanders back to the people, let there be unity, transparency, democracy, that’s when we can move forward, we are not moving forward, we are stagnant because there is no unity of purpose,’’ said Sibanda.
Sibanda is convinced that Highlanders can attract sponsorship if things are done in a crystal clear approach at the club.
“I’ve heard people talking about sponsorship, people are there, they are already waiting once things are done properly in a transparent manner, they will put in their money.”
A pharmaceutical technician by profession who also has interests in farming, Sibanda said his history with Highlanders dates back to 1985 shortly after he just started working.
At that time he owned a Datsun Pulsar which he used to transport players to matches.
“I was born Highlanders, the day I started getting my first cent I started playing a part at Highlanders that is way back in 1985 when I was a youngster working at Mpilo and UBH,’’ Sibanda said.
For over a decade, Sibanda served in the Highlanders entities committee that was responsible for looking after the club’s facilities. The entities committee was dissolved in 2019 after Sibanda had stepped down from heading the sub-committee. — @Mdawini_29