Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
Highlanders FC Plumtree Supporters Chapter has challenged the club to “seriously” consider tapping into rural talent by establishing satellite centres where players identified can train.
At the weekend, the Plumtree Chapter hosted club chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube, welfare manager Vezigama Dlodlo and media officer Ronald Moyo in the border town where they discussed issues concerning Bosso.
One of the topical issues discussed at the meeting was the need for Bosso to consider scouting talent even in remote areas.
Daniel “Deekay” Ndlovu, spokesperson for the Plumtree supporters group, said plans are underway to invite former Highlanders players and junior development coaches to Matabeleland South to scout for abundant talent.
“One major hindrance in terms of the development aspect is that our boys are scared of going to Bulawayo because they do not have accommodation and at the end of the day rural talent suffers,” said Ndlovu.
“We want to start a campaign where we bring former players and legends to rural Plumtree so that they inspire young talent we have in those areas.
“There is huge potential in Matabeleland and what’s required is for Highlanders to take a proactive approach to get these young boys and develop them. For long we’ve had the club coming to such gatherings and promising to send scouts, but when they go back to Bulawayo they forget about the promises they would have made,” he said.
The chapter gave Highlanders representatives some money they sourced from a fundraising initiative conducted in Plumtree.
Bosso have chapters dotted around the country and outside in countries like South Africa, Canada and the United Kingdom. These chapters assist the club with financial and material resources from time to time.
Jabulani Mangwana-Tshuma, the chapter’s chairman, said Plumtree and surrounding areas have a number of Highlanders followers that are keen to buy the club’s memorabilia.
He said Bosso have to tap into the Bulilima and Mangwe resources.
“One of the concerns we raised was the need for us to have an office here where people can buy regalia and all other team accessories, including cards. We have approached one of our businessmen, who has promised us a place where Highlanders business can be conducted from free of charge.
“We hope to continue donating to the team whenever we can, but what is important is for the club to be aggressive in terms of marketing and tap into the resources that are here,” said Mangwana-Tshuma.
Highlanders’ officials took some of the club’s available products on the Plumtree such as the limited-edition leather bags, cups and masks.
While some members bought most of the items, Jabulani, son of the late former Highlanders’ chairman Colonel James Mangwana-Tshuma, purchased the limited edition eland skin backpack for US$250.
Anele Ndlovu, the Plumtree chapter’s treasurer, said they had embarked on a membership drive, encouraging supporters in the border town to subscribe.
He challenged Highlanders to come up with incentives for those with membership cards so that the club recruits more paid-up members.
Highlanders’ spokesperson Ronald Moyo said interacting with the members was “fruitful” and they will continue with such engagements to exchange ideas and hear what “people” want.
“It was a good engagement where we managed to get ideas from the fans on the ground, which for us is the biggest currency to hear ideas from members and fans. It was a fruitful engagement and we hope in future we will reflect and do some things as a result of what we discussed in Plumtree.
“We are not just doing it in Plumtree, but we will also be initiating visits to other chapters to exhibit our products,” Moyo said. — @ZililoR