HIGHLANDERS had, judging from newspaper reports, a very successful annual general meeting last Sunday, except, and maybe, only for my old friend Leroy Maplanka whose motion — under any other business — was apparently stillborn and waits to feature on another day, assuming the proposer of the motion is still interested in pursuing the matter.
The extremely good news announced at the meeting is the securing or renewal of the BancABC sponsorship. However, this cannot completely mask the fact that Highlanders are deep in the red and the club’s auditors quite rightly raised a red flag, on the club as a going concern.
Those among the Highlanders family at home with accounting parlance were, hopefully, given an opportunity to enlighten the rest of the club’s members what the meaning, and implications, of this term “going concern”.
Simply put, when auditors raise questions on the going concern they are saying, in layman’s language, the business is not financially well and may, sooner or later, be so crippled it cannot continue to function as a business.
The auditors are, when they cite the going concern problem, asking the owners of the business — in this case the members of Highlanders — to address this critical issue.
The critical issue the auditors, in my interpretation, are asking the Highlanders family to look at is the source of funding, especially in terms of sustainability going into the long term. The BancABC sponsorship, we are told, is for three years, but we are yet to be informed whether its quantum of $700 000 is an annual amount, meaning support of at least $2 million over the three-year duration of the sponsorship, or the total over the life of the deal, meaning a paltry $233 000 odd each year.
Chairman Peter Dube is quoted as saying that BancABC will in the coming days give the full details of the deal and everyone, Highlanders members and outsiders alike, are awaiting for these details with bated breath.
Nonetheless, the sponsorship is welcome in that, whether it is $700 000 total in three years or in each of three years, it will — reading in between the lines — help, first and foremost, in reducing, if not capping, the rate at which the existing Highlanders debt grows.
In addition, the package, again reading in between the lines, will enable the club to compete with other clubs in terms of signing players in that Highlanders will be able to pay cash signing-on fees rather than negotiate paying these fees at a later day.
This, put in different words, makes Highlanders more attractive an employer and, ultimately, a better and more competitive team on the field of play.
The assignment the Highlanders family now has, in the wake of the BancABC package, is to find solutions to their existing debt of over $500 000 and to find a long-term answer to sources of finance going forward. The key issue when identifying sources of finance is sustainability, of course, and addressing the aspect of financial sustainability is the scourge every community club, for that is what Highlanders suffers from perennially.
Highlanders members must not rest on their laurels in the belief that the BancABC package is the full solution to their financial problems — it is just a small bit of the solution and other sustainable sources of finance need to be identified, and secured.
Among sustainable sources of finance is the form of ownership — is it not time Highlanders changed their way of existing to one in which they are owned by a few of their members who pump in their own finances into the club while the rest of us remain simply as supporters.
Yes, it goes without saying that not engaging in rowdy behaviour at soccer matches is a sustainable, way of securing finances for the club.
One has to simply look at the amounts of money Highlanders,and Dynamos were charged by the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League administration for the rowdy behaviour of their fans — that money can certainly be used in a more meaningful and profitable way than throw it at rowdy fans, so to speak.
As is now so clear, rowdy behaviour is costly to our clubs and it is something that needs no effort to desist from — all it needs is the will.
- Congratulations to Washington Chimhanda for landing the chairmanship of the Zifa Bulawayo Province at the weekend. Chimhanda replaces Horace Ndubiwa and it is, at least for some of us, good to have a change of regime. Regime change ushers something new, even if this newness is purely having something old being performed by a different leader.
- We look foward to Chimhanda taking over from where Ndubiwa left. Leadership is a relay race and Ndubiwa has certainly done his part. Well done and best of luck in your endeavours.
- Chimhanda needs to serve all, those that voted for and against him, equally and equitably and being a seasoned football administrators he is pretty aware of the need to deliver a quality service.
- Regardless of the outcome of Warriors semi-final clash against Libya tomorrow in the penultimate match day of the African Nations Championship (Chan) finals in South Africa, Zimbabwe remains in Cape Town and have a match on Saturday.
The Warriors have already made history, this being the first time they have gone beyond the group stages in three Chan finals appearances.
They meet either Nigeria or Ghana in the final should they beat Libya, and we all pray the Warriors do. The semi-final tie between neighbours and West African football powerhouses Ghana and Nigeria will, of course, be the pick of the semi-finals, nationalism and patriotism aside.
Should Zimbabwe lose to Libya then the Warriors would play the losers of the Ghana and Nigeria clash in the third-place play off, a match which is the curtain raiser to the title decider. Both matches will be played at the same stadium.