Kiglon FC boss sucks up to Mugabe in letter
The President Of The Republic Of Zimbabwe
His Excellency, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe
MY name is Thompson Dondo and I am the Chief Executive Officer of Kiglon Football Club, a Premiership team based in Harare. I am writing this letter in my own capacity, but I have to admit that in a way I am also representing the Premier League leadership and the club owners, the dedicated and truly Zimbabwean people who run our top-flight league teams on a daily basis.
These are the people who invest huge sums of money, most of it from personal savings, into football – doing it on a daily basis – just to try and keep the clubs alive, providing our football stars with a club to hone their talents and a decent wage to support themselves and their families.
On June 5, Your Excellency, the power of football was there for everyone to see as 40 000 Zimbabweans converged at Rufaro, an equal number was turned away because the ground was full, and millions followed the drama on national television.
We were all bound by our identity as proud Warriors and, playing as Team Zimbabwe, we passed the test coming from the Eagles of Mali and what touched me was the happiness, among ordinary Zimbabweans, sparked by our team’s victory.
On that day we all forgot the big challenges that we are facing as a nation and, standing behind that flag, we danced, sang our favourite songs, hugged strangers, shed tears of joy and found pride to be called Zimbabweans. No game binds our people together like football.
On that Sunday we all forgot, briefly, the economic sanctions imposed on our nation, which I believe are the biggest form of violence inflicted on ordinary Zimbabweans. We forgot, in our moment of triumph, that we were still being stalked by the sanctions, which were punishing millions of our people, hammering the poor, hurting the weak and wrecking the lives of innocent children.
The same sanctions I believe are responsible for keeping SuperSport away from our league, even though our teams continue to do well in Africa, while they can invest in Zambia, Kenya, Angola and everywhere else but Zimbabwe. I am a football man, through and through, Your Excellency, and what drives me is the passion that I have for this game. The game speaks to me, guides me and it does rule me, and all the time I obey.
I have come to believe that each one of us has a personal calling that is as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.
Our world is incomplete until each one of us discovers what moves us – and that, indeed, is our passion. We must listen and act on it for ourselves, something which I have been doing together with my football friends for the past 10 years.
Football, Your Excellency, is an incredible game. It brings out the sociologist that lurks in some otherwise respectable citizens. It’s an honest game and it’s so true to life that it’s a game about sharing. Football, just like life, is a team game. There is a community of the spirit in football.
The biggest challenge we face today, Your Excellency, as PSL Club Owners, is finding the money to run our local teams. We have been doing our best in these trying times and it has been a huge task in this kind of environment. What we know is that we will play the game better if we have the money and we will get better, in terms of focus and organisation.
When this happens, we will be able to woo big crowds at our stadiums and we would then have a sound and strong football league in this country that would benefit the national teams with happy and committed players. There is so much good we can do with money. Without it, we are bound and shackled and our choices become very limited.
The big companies in this country are not willing to assist us, for reasons best known to themselves. Somehow they simply don’t want to associate with the game of the masses. These big companies are only concerned with maximising profits, regardless of the social and/or environmental costs.
The worst thing they do is that after amassing so much wealth they don’t even think of the people in the communities. They become very selfish and take the money away with them.
My dream is for the PSL teams to be able to get some funding and be able to play until the end of the 2011 season without having to worry about where the funds for transport, accommodation, allowances and salaries for the players and coaches will come from. Right now I don’t honestly see how we will be able to fund the teams, on our own, until the end of the year.
I am trying to bring our plight to your attention, Your Excellency, because I personally feel that you are the only person who can be able to assist us in one way or the other. I listened to your speech, when your addressed the Dynamos and CAPS United players on the 28th of February after the Bob @ 87 Cup final at Rufaro, and what I picked from that address was that you are a man of the beautiful game.
I realised that you love the game and you know a lot about our local league which, to me, was quite amazing. Some may have forgotten what you said that day but I’m pretty sure that everyone who was there will never forget how you made them feel. I have always asked my fellow club owners this question – Why can’t we engage the Government and seek financial help to be able to finish the season?
After all, we run the clubs on behalf of the people, for the fans. This is a people’s game, a masses’ game. I believe we deserve a little bit of help to pull through these difficult times. When I was a Boy Scout in Torwood, Redcliff, some 25 yrs ago, we used to play a game when new Scouts joined the troop. We would line up chairs in a pattern, creating an obstacle course through which the new Scouts, blindfolded, were supposed to manoeuvre.
The Scoutmaster Mr. Partson Muderedzi would give them a few moments to study the pattern before our adventure began. But as soon as the victims were blindfolded, the rest of us would quietly remove the chairs. I think life is like this game. We are afraid to engage the authorities, to try and seek help or do whatever it is that we would really like to do because of the obstacles.
The principle is that don’t avoid any chairs until you run into one. And, even if you do, at least you will have a place to sit down. It’s important to believe that we can. Belief is one of the most powerful of all problem dissolvers. I consider myself a winner just by sitting down in this small office and writing to you, Your Excellency.
Victory isn’t defined by wins or losses. It is defined by effort, which I have done today. If you can truthfully say, to yourself, ‘I did the best I could, I gave everything I had,’ then you’re a winner. Our football administrators are fighting hard, I must say, in trying to get the game to move forward. Football, just like any other business, needs leaders who are enthusiastic and keen on finding new ground.
I think the leaders need to be as fresh, and more thoughtful and reflective as possible, to make the very ‘best fight’ with sponsors and Government authorities. They need to get over the idea that only children should spend their time in learning classes. We are all students so long as we still have something to learn, and this will mean all our lives.
The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live. We need a cultured, passionate and dedicated football leadership at the PSL House that fights for clubs’ rights and other key issues. We have a lot of fans out there who are very supportive of what we have done over the last 10 years, particularly what we have done over the last three years to try to get to the finish line.
As a nation we have lost our sense of tragedy, sportsmanship, a recognition that bad things can also happen to good people. The road has been very long and hard, Your Excellence, and I don’t think any of the teams or their owners are willing to surrender now. When we go through hardships and decide not to surrender, which is what we have all done, you know you have found your strength.
Four things support the world that we live in today, Your Excellency, the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the help to the needy. We desperately need your help as the PSL clubs. We don’t want to collapse but want to keep the fans up and cheering.
We believe that, just like the country’s civil servants who need a little bit more in terms of their salaries, the club owners in the PSL also need a helping hand right now and that can only come from the Government.
May God Bless You And May God Bless Zimbabwe.
Yours In Sport,
Kiglon Football Club