Highlanders Chairman Themba Ndlela was meant to leave for Canada where he would attend an administrators’ seminar. Initial reports mentioned the financier of the trip as First Mobile Sports Academy whose technical director is Isaac Mbedzi.
There were questions of the motive of inviting Mr Ndlela for education purposes given that he may not be in office within the first 30 days of the New Year, after the Annual General Elections. Mr Mbedzi brokered a partnership between Highlanders F.C and First Mobile Sports Academy forming a Highlanders Football Academy, a very good thing for Bosso junior policy. There were suspicions behind the motive and Mbedzi came forth to clear the air, addressing the Bosso Legends who had poised the question.
‘Thank you Legends for posing the direct questions to me as a Highlanders Supporter and as the said Director of the First Mobile Sports Academy. Our partnership involved me helping Highlanders junior teams regroup and rebrand, to a more secure youth policy of an academy with an aim to scout, develop and try to market the product beyond the Highlanders First team. The agreement was not between Ndlela and the FMSA but between Highlanders and the FMSA.
The initial stages involved me training the coaches and players in transition and inviting two players from Highlanders to be guest players in the international youth tournaments which took place in SWEDEN and DENMARK (Gothia cup and DANA CUP) in JULY 2011.The First Mobile Sports Academy offered and paid tickets for two players Norman Zimba the Goalkeeper and Trevor NDLOVU whom I felt would make an impact in EUROPE but I was disappointed that the said players withdrew at the last minute because of lack of travelling documents which they first said they had ready.
We extended the invitation to 4 more players who failed to come because it was claimed they had no accompanying adult. We also extended an invitation to CANADA and EUROPE to the Chairman of the Board and the Chairman of the Executive with us paying for one ticket and accommodation for the two men and with Highlanders paying only for the ticket for the other.
You may ask why we decided to invite them to these tournaments? We wanted to expand our contacts and prepare Highlanders structures to be able to consolidate the new structures by themselves when times come for them to stand on their own and even for them to build direct contacts and links independent of the FMSA and yes, I know Ndlela’s term is expiring but he is not Highlanders nor an enemy of Highlanders.
So if he had a mandate and duty to carry on until the end, who am I to come and dictate how Highlanders are supposed to run their things. I asked for a delegation to CANADA trying to link Bosso with the three major league soccer teams and taking advantage of the invitation extended to the FMSA to this year ‘s third edition of the Canada showcase who run the seminar and it’s not guaranteed that our academy will be invited next year for me to wait for elections and it’s open even to those who can buy they own tickets and get the visa.
The First Mobile Sports Academy is a business company registered in CANADA and anytime the Bosso family feel we are not helping them attain specific goals, they can just ask us to move out of the agreement or partnership and the FMSA or me as the founder won’t regret it because it was not meant for mileage but to help the structures of our team, only we chose to do it with monitored accountability.
Those who are into soccer will realize that we did promise and fulfill promises of helping not only to HIGHLANDERS but to the ZIFA Bulawayo province and we will continue to help our junior teams until we get our youngsters back to national teams. Go to ZIFA Bulawayo and enquire more about this and then ask me the same question about wasting when I do stuff for junior players. And my answer will always be there is NO waste with kids. The first time I came I saw the juniors playing using kits with names like NGODZO, SIBANDA at the back and I promised to supply them with uniforms and will still do that until they all wear uniforms with their names and now the challenge is to see them with football boots and yes, we will still try to source the boots with or without the current executive.
There is an upcoming trip in JULY for the players to the Gothia cup and DANA CUP and there is nothing to hide or politicise about it. It is very open, first to HIGHLANDERS Academy players and then to Bulawayo Junior teams, provided they can pay their own ticket and we will cover the accommodation and flights within Europe.
My question to you Bosso Legends is, why didn’t you ask me those direct questions when I was there in Zimbabwe, noting that I was conducting all training sessions at the HIGHLANDERS Club House and watching matches there or even or the Barbourfileds stadium where we had 5 Junior DVD games?
The Bosso Legends appreciated the response as it was informative and enlightening. ‘We comprehend the efforts and the love of the game that you have shown especially to our team Highlanders. It is what the club needs right now. You also need to understand our concern that the resources meant for the club should fully benefit the club and more so in the long-term.
While you rightfully say that First Mobile Sports Academy wanted to prepare Highlanders structures to be able to consolidate itself when time to stand on its own arrive, we felt it was a big risk for the club to invest in someone whose future with the club was not certain. It has come as a blessing in disguise that the trip has fallen through. We hope our questions did not offend you and we hope the next persons coming into the office will receive the same support you have given and vice versa.
Now let us get to your questions why Bosso Legends did not ask you these issues during your visit to Bulawayo-Zimbabwe. As you may know by now, we are a group of former Highlanders F.C. players. We have members that have high coaching profiles in terms of Zimbabwean and African standards. There is nothing that our members would have loved more that meeting you and sharing ideas especially on junior development, but being an affiliate of the mother body who happened to be your host, we had to wait for an invitation from them. Let’s not get you into the club’s politics. We hope when you come next time we will get an invitation from you.’
As a response, Mr. Mbedzi put the record straight. ‘The truth is, I never took the Bosso Legends as a separate organ or entity from Highlanders Football Club and will never doubt the composition, abilities or fitting profiles of its members, but if a name and role of a person is brought forward to engage or extend an invitation whenever I visit or you visit then that won’t be a problem to me.
I fully understand as a person who grew up within the systems of the team the need for public accountability. That is why I was a bit surprised to get questions and request to halt an opportunity which I personally forced hoping to create the earliest possible contacts for our team and the halting request was based on an assumption that the current chairman was going to lose an election, which had nothing to do with me.
The intention was or is not to bring the Bosso Chairman but to be able to facilitate a visit by Highlanders delegation to wherever my Academy is invited, and to see people thanking God for the failure of an opportunity shows a serious problem within our team. Personally it is embarrassing for me to take other teams’ players while we could be doing this for ourselves. Highlanders is bigger than ACES academy but we must ask the questions of our commitment.’
However, there will always be concerns as raised by this point of view; ‘Thank God the trip was a failure. Now let’s look forward to a more rewarding association with Mr Mbedzi in uplifting our junior policy. Maybe Ndlela could have leant a thing or two on the running of teams/clubs albeit at junior level. Anyway, Mr Mbedzi, let’s not get you involved in that club politics but we accept your extended hand.’
Should this make Mr Mbedzi feel better? Judge yee!