BY FORTUNE MBELE
THE man challenging Kenneth Mhlophe in the race for the Highlanders’ chairmanship, Johnfat Sibanda, says commercialising the club would be his top priority if he is voted into office.
Highlanders executive elections to choose the chairman, secretary and committee member will be held on February 7, if approved by the health officials in light of the COVID-19 regulations on gatherings.
In an interview yesterday, Sibanda (60), said: “We must turn Highlanders into a professional organisation in terms of football which is the club’s core business.
The club cannot be like a social outfit where players will just leave as free agents. We must commercialise the club first from the juniors in an academy model where we can track these players until they join the senior team, they know the club culture.”
He said commercialising the football entity would ensure players’ salaries and their upkeep was guaranteed.
“If you talk of salaries and players’ upkeep, when the football entity is commercialised, that becomes a thing of the past. One reason we are not winning titles is because we have players who are insecure and unsettled, who don’t know for how long they will be at Highlanders,” Sibanda said.
“We must put a lot of capital into player development, maintenance and then reap the rewards. When you manufacture a product you perfect it so that it is marketable and competitive when you sell it out there.”
He said he had been club benefactor for a long time but does not want to brag about it.
A businessman, who has interests in pharmaceuticals, farming and cattle ranching, Sibanda has been a member of the club since 2007.
“I am not going in the race to make numbers. I am the next Highlanders chairman and when I retire I want to leave an indelible mark at Highlanders,” he said.
The other elections will see Morgen Dube challenging Israel Moyo for the secretary’s post, while Bheka Sibanda and Mgcini Mafu are battling it out for the committee member’s position.
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