By Ricky Zililo
At a time when Highlanders’ sponsorship deal with NetOne hangs in the balance, the club’s supporters have embarked on a campaign to source basic commodities that will cushion the players.
The mobile network operator has reportedly pulled the plug on football sponsorship due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that has hit its bottom line.
The company sponsors Premier Soccer League sides Highlanders, Caps United and army side Black Rhinos.
Most clubs are in a quandary as they rely mostly on gate takings for their survival and with matches indefinitely suspended, footballers that also survive on winning bonuses and match appearance fees are also feeling the burden.
Musician Thulani “Harsh-Touch” Dube, who has composed a number of Highlanders’ songs, is spearheading the campaign to get the players basic commodities.
Bosso players are yet to receive their April salaries.
“The idea is to raise money to get the players food hampers that will include basic commodities such as mealie-meal, sugar and cooking oil, among other items. We understand the situation that they are going through and also appreciate that even Highlanders members are faced with difficulties because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
“What we’ve done through the various supporters’ WhatsApp groups is to ask that those who can spare some money donate to the cause. We are also appealing to those that may donate in kind to tell us where we can pick up their contributions to get in touch,” said Dube.
He said they intend to start buying foodstuffs on Thursday and start delivering them to players on Friday.
“Unfortunately because of restrictions, we can’t have any gathering, meaning we can’t say players and technical team must come to a central place to collect the hampers. Once we have all hampers ready, we will invite the chairman (Kenneth Mhlophe) and the chief executive officer (Nhlanhla Dube) to come and see the supporters’ contributions and thereafter proceed to deliver the iems to the players’ homes,” said Dube.
He said EcoCash contributions are being sent to Highlanders life-card carrying member Khetha Marizane’s 0772601315 mobile number and every transaction will be published in their WhatsApp groups. The Chronicle