Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor

IN a major milestone, Bulawayo giants Highlanders have expanded their income generating initiatives by venturing into gold mining after being handed a mining claim in the gold rich area of Inyathi, Bubi district, by the Government.

The venture, a first by any local football club except for those whose owners were already in the lucrative industry like Bulawayo Chiefs and Talen Vision, will greatly see an improvement in liquidity terms by Highlanders who are at the present moment relying on the benevolence of its members and other well wishers following the withdrawal of their principal sponsors Netone.

Sources said Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube was the brains behind the gold mining initiative after she reportedly asked why Highlanders were always carrying a begging bowl asking for donations to sustain the club despite its gigantic stature and the club’s ever open door policy when it came to national issues like participating in Independence Cup tournaments, anti sanctions movement as well as in sports tourism, marketing brand Zimbabwe.

Two weeks ago President Mnangagwa launched the Visit Zimbabwe Promotion Campaign, a movement which seeks to leverage on the sports and tourism sectors to market the country as a premier tourist destination.

“Look I know all the parties in this matter wanted this thing to be kept under wraps until all the paperwork was completed but the bottom line is it’s a done deal, umasalu (Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister) really played a big role here, ubengumasalu sibili.

She went to the highest office in the land and pleaded on behalf of the club. A mining claim was then identified in Inyathi with the concurrence of the highest office. I am sure all the paperwork will be signed this week but what I know for certain is that Highlanders officials have been shown the area where they will be mining, coordinates are there,” said a well placed source.

Highlanders chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube could neither confirm nor deny the latest development, telling this publication that the administration has always been keen to expand its revenue streams for the sustenance of the institution.

“We have a number of income generating projects that as a club we agreed on which are also part of what we agreed on in our strategic plan and I wouldn’t really want to settle on what you have specifically asked about, suffice to say whatever we venture in, when the time comes, shall be made public,” said Dube.