WHO will swim all the way to Nirvana? And who will sink? Who has the lungs to go all the way? And who will choke under the obvious pressure of attempting to lead the football behemoth called Highlanders?
On February 7 eligible Bosso members will either be voting for a new chairman or keeping the incumbent in place for a second term.
Two combatants have confirmed their participation in the election: one a known, proven quantity, while the other is little known — unknown to even the neutrals who follow the world’s beautiful game if truth be told!
One is a celebrated former army officer and the other a farmer.
Both are recognised businessmen.
Johnfat Sibanda is hoping to “rid” Bosso of Kenneth Mhlophe in what on paper looks like a mammoth task for the relatively unknown.
What will the voting members be looking for from either of the two candidates? Will they choose to maintain the status quo and hope the continuity will be a boon for the club or go with a newbie for the new term?
Let’s get ready to rumble . . . In the so and so corner the champion from battlefields far and wide to football fields near and far . . . with a term of experience . . .
And introducing his challenger . . . been there done that . . .
If he was a DC Comics super hero or sci-fi character, this Bosso “soldier boy” would probably be named “Debt Man” or maybe even “Kenny the DeMbare Slayer”. After all, he was the overlord as Bosso vanquished two of the club’s worst enemies: mounting legacy debts and a more than decade-long failure to defeat that Dynamos!
Much like the fictional Aquaman, Bosso’s own Debt Man swam through the rough seas of debt accrued over several years of financial mismanagement at the club. The club’s debts had begun to weigh down on its future, the constant threat of losing some of its assets like the clubhouse and office yoked around its neck.
But with much aplomb vanquish it he did! Unfortunately, very little fanfare accompanied these achievements by the incumbent chairman, a scenario that is testament to his own personality: a born servant of his people with humility to boot.
But despite these very significant and telling successes, he comes into this year’s election season with the spectre of the mismanaged and divisive suspension of secretary-general, Israel Moyo, hanging over his head, coupled with the lack of an in-demand league title to grace the club’s trophy cabinet.
However, Mhlophe has been constant at the club for many years, first as a benefactor and in more recent years as a problem solver. He is perhaps just what the doctor ordered: an organised leader willing to make mistakes and has a proven track record at the helm of one of the country’s most difficult clubs to lead.
In a sink or swim challenge, Mhlophe is a shoe-in to swim the whole length even against the tide.
Johnfat Sibanda is an unknown quantity and as with all unknowns, a surprise victory cannot be discounted. He was the first member to openly declare his interest in the Highlanders chairmanship.
Sibanda is a Bulawayo businessman and farmer of repute and in recent comments he made to the local media, he “decided to throw his name into the race for the Highlanders chairmanship having been a member of entities and committees under different club leadership to the present administration led by Mhlophe and believes he has seen and learnt a lot.”
According to Sibanda, he was a very active and able benefactor to the club during Ndumiso Gumede’s tenure and was involved in seeing to the club’s transport needs by providing free transport for players to matches. During this period, team buses were a relative unknown and supporters such as Sibanda were available to provide a key necessity such as transport were considered indispensable. This service will appeal to many members who are bound to view such a service to the club as a show of genuine love and an unwavering wish to see it prosper.
It is this involvement with the club over the years that has inspired his decision to jump in and swim with the sharks so to speak.
Yet while his leadership pedigree is unknown, his passion for the club is clear as day and it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to swim the length or sink once he hits the deeper waters.
As the campaign season reaches fever pitch, both candidates have their work cut out for them as they attempt to convince the hard to please Highlanders populace of their unique skill sets. Mhlophe will do well not to discount Sibanda as a blind greenhorn while the challenger has all to do to dislodge the successful incumbent.
Highlanders is not looking for a leader who will long on rhetoric but one who will hit the ground running and deliver immediate and visible success.
Incumbent secretary-general Israel Moyo, aspiring secretary-general Morgen “Gaza” Dube, the duo of Bheka “Mahii” Sibanda and Mgcini Mafu, who are all gunning for the post of committee member, add to the excitement of Bosso’s 2021 elections.