Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter

HIGHLANDERS will play their first five home league matches at Barbourfields Stadium for free when the season eventually starts with the Bulawayo City Council putting a waiver on hire fees as a means of supporting the country’s oldest team.

The local authority’s finance and development committee had last week made a recommendation for Highlanders to be allowed to play two home games at Barbourfields without paying any hire fee to the City Fathers.

This comes after Bosso had written to the city’s mayor, Solomon Mguni seeking assistance from the local authority as the team began to feel the pinch of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, councillors on Wednesday altered the motion, and agreed to allow Bosso to use the stadium for free for their first five matches.

The facility will also cover all the other premier league teams in Bulawayo, which also include the council owned Bulawayo City, Chicken Inn and Bulawayo Chiefs.

Confirming this development, ward one councillor, Mlandu Ncube who chaired the full council meeting said councillors had noted that by the time the season eventually starts teams would have incurred a lot of expenses hence the move was meant to cushion them.

“Highlanders had written to the mayor seeking assistance from council during these Covid-19 times, the committee had recommended that we award them the first two matches for free but councillors on Wednesday decided to give them and all the other teams in the premier league the first five matches at no cost.

“The reason is that this off-season has dragged for too long due to the Covid-19 necessitated lockdown, with these teams incurring costs hence by the time the season starts they will be largely incapacitated. We thus feel with our small gesture by the sixth match they could have found their feet,” said Mlandu.

According to a council report, Highlanders owe the council $156 362,81 for its various properties in the city, which include the club’s offices, clubhouse and camping house in Luveve.