Highlanders took time off the Castle Premier League to visit South Africa for a Challenge Match they lost against ABSA Premier League campaigners, Bloemfontein Celtic. The eventual and embarrassing 4-1 loss on penalties raised questions of their ability, discipline and professionalism. The team arrived without a regular goalkeeper. The reasons were that the was representing the country in the Under-23. His deputy was said to be passportless. A rental replacement underperformed, leading to the dismal performance of the team.
My guess is that the management of the team did everything in their power to have a full and normal squad. I believe they try everything in their strength to care for their players. The fact is that the players may not be in a position to spend money on anything that is not going to the mouth. Should individuals then sponsor the players as is the case with endorsements? I think so.
Bosso has a way of operation as all other teams. There must be thorough examination of a case where individual companies and global citizens can make arrangements with players of their choice. Earlier in these pages, I raised the question of sponsorship for the club and the players. Along with that, there was an array of possibilities concerning raising funds for the team, but then, nobody from Bosso read this. Some issues may be deemed impractical, given that the observations are made by us, outsiders.
Highlanders FC must understand that with their following in South Africa and beyond, they are in a launch pad to garner funds from sales of merchandise, regalia and other products. They need to work on a deal as they did with Isaac Mbedzi’s First Sports Mobile Academy of Canada on football developments.
I will say this again, Bosso needs a Highlanders Funeral Plan as clubs like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs so as to have the club run as a business entity. An alternative is to cede rights to individuals who can do so on the club’s behalf. In these days of technology, the funeral plans and schemes and other products should be available online. This enables people in the diaspora to join in their thousands and make monthly contributions. These goes for membership cards as well subscriptions and payments.
It was also suggested having an e-Bosso for online recruitment. The club needs an up-to-date website and surely an official Facebook page. An official blog would complement a website for updates with breaking news and player profile. There must be something to keep the interest of supporters and fans.
There are people in South Africa who want to organise matches for the financial benefit of players as individuals. While the idea is noble, the club is an institution to which they belong, and hence must take care of their needs as a group. These matches prepare the team for Africa Champions’ League as it pits the players of different countries and different leagues.
Bosso must get better resources immediately. I still have this vision of baby nappies, feeding bottles, cellphone covers and pouches and car rear-view mirror socks with a Bosso logo for the benefit of the team. There was so much ‘fong-kong’ merchandise outside Ellis Park stadium and most people knowing bought the stuff because there was no alternative. The time to think small and expect half-hearted individuals to run the club is over. Or it will be Bosso that will be over.
Some of the things that can have ripple effects down the line. Now, there is not much attendance to talk about extension of the BF Stadium or fit the roof. At least, the Club House is being put into good use by Allan Mpofu, but there is more that can be done elsewhere. What Highlanders FC does now will attract big money, huge sponsorship but things must improve in the boardroom and the field. The team needs open a full-time merchandise shop at BF, displaying everything the team has ever won, the pictures and selling memorabilia. This can start as a contracted project, as should be similar shops in South Africa.
It is high time that well-wishers come up with a salary of a Chief Executive Officer who will foresee the Bosso business branch, the smooth operation of a Highlanders FC Funeral Insurance and a Bosso Medical Aid. At the least, the team should be self-reliant as it has always been, but at this business competitive era, some traditions will have to suffer, but if it is for the better of the team, who cares. This is the e-world and the club must reflect the times.
What do you think can be done to better the team?