Sikhumbuzo Moyo in BULAWAYO
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 likely see an improvement in liquidity terms for Highlanders.
The country’s oldest football club have been relying on the benevolence of their 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.
She was concerned Bosso were not making the most of their gigantic stature and the club’s open door policy, when it came to national issues, like participating in Independence Cup, 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.
“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, Nhlanhla Dube, could neither confirm nor deny the latest developments, telling this publication that the administration have always been keen to expand their 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.