Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor
HIGHLANDERS never received a dime following the departure of eccentric goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini to South African Premiership side Platinum Stars in 2006, two members of the Highlanders administration set up then have confirmed.
Former Highlanders supremo, Ernest Sibanda who was the chairman when Kapini left for South Africa and Emmet Ndlovu who was the team manager have sprung to the defence of the institution following an unexpected claim demands by Kapini’s former club Zimbabwe Crackers who this week contacted Bosso demanding the 30 percent share which the two clubs agreed on in 2001 when Campos, as Kapini is also known as, moved from Harare to Bulawayo, to mark what was to be a very successful goalkeeping career.
“Kapini left Highlanders as a free agent, he was never sold to Platinum Stars,” said Sibanda, an assertion that was supported by Ndlovu.
“No, we didn’t receive any payment for him,” said Ndlovu, now a fully ordained Pastor.
Contacted for comment yesterday on how they came up with a $600 000 figure which put Kapini’s move to Platinum Stars at a staggering $2 million, Justice Nyamutsamba, a representative of Zimbabwe Crackers, said they made their own investigations and also contacted Platinum Stars and the South African Football Association (Safa).
“We had to do our own investigations after learning of the transfer from the media, we contacted Platinum Stars as well as Safa to confirm the deal,” said Nyamutsamba. He said when they made inquiries in 2006, Bosso informed them that their lawyers will be getting in touch with them but that never happened.
“Highlanders lawyers never contacted us and when we went back to the executive, they would keep telling us that they said they will get back to us,” said Nyamutsamba.
But questions are abounding on the authenticity of the figures especially on the fact that Platinum Stars were just a modest club who could not have afforded the luxury to part with that kind of an amount, especially for a goalkeeper. The Bulawayo giants are also the only local club that have always religiously held its annual general meeting with the team’s financials also presented, including any income realised from the sale of players or any of its properties.
The 2007 treasurer’s report never had a $2 million income from the sale of a player which brings into fore the toxic nature of the Highlanders’ boardroom politics at that time as Maphepha’s election into office was marred with unprecedented violence, before, during and even after his sensational victory. Maphepha was elected in absentia as he was away in Egypt with the national team during the Afcon finals.
“Maybe someone misrepresented facts to Zimbabwe Crackers that Bosso had received a windfall and therefore they could claim their 30 percent share, because surely $2 million in 2006 could have completely transformed Highlanders,” said a former member of the Highlanders secretariat.
Meanwhile, Nyamutsamba said contrary to belief that they remained quiet about the issue for 14 years, they have in-fact been engaging Zifa over the matter all these years without any success.