By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
The chairman of the Highlanders South African Supporters Chapter Nodumo Nyathi says he never asked for any favours from the Bulawayo giants after he led a spirited fundraising campaign to clear the club’s nearly $1 million debt that had haunted the institution for many years.
Nyathi spoke after an upoar from some members of the club following a campaign poster by incumbent club chairman Kenneth Mhlophe, who said the club had managed to clear debt after his executive “through the interaction and relations with the chapters, managed to clear the debt in a campaign led by a recognised leader of a Chapter”.
The poster caused an uproar, with some members feeling Mhlophe’s statement had been reckless and extremely divisive.
Highlanders gave Nyathi a replica club jersey in honour of his ‘Bosso debt clearance campaign’.
Writing on his Facebook timeline, Nyathi said he had on numerous occasions assisted Highlanders and had never asked for recognition or favours, but did so out of love for his childhood team.
“I hear there is uproar about why I was recognised for having come up with and led the Highlanders FC debt clearance campaign. I think I have done a lot as a Bosso son and have never ever asked for favours. I have paid air tickets for some technical team members many times, have put funds in cash and kind,” wrote Nyathi in a clearly emotional write-up.
He also revealed that he was part of the Highlanders’ members that paid air tickets and salaries for the team’s expatriate coaches Pieter de Jongh and Mark Harrison and crucially, never went to town about it.
“I was part of those that paid for coach De Jong’s air tickets and salary. I was part of those that paid for air tickets and salary for coach Mark Harrison and never bragged about it or even spoke about it.
No one knew about that, I have sacrificed my time (which is priceless for ekaMatshobana) and have never asked for any favours. I think as the leader of a recognised chapter of Highlanders FC, I have played a positive role in not just leading the Chapter, but helping the club and all that. I did it out of love for the club and never asked for any favours,” wrote Nyathi.
On the replica jersey token, Nyathi said he too was taken by suprise when he got a call from the club asking him to pass by the office for some ‘token of appreciation’ which he had no idea of.
“When I was busy with my goats ekhaya while on holiday, I got a call to pass by the club offices and it was touching when I was presented with a framed 2021 replica (by the way I had already bought 2021 replicas for my whole family). The recognition I got was not just for me, but for every Highlanders FC son and daughter that listened to my call and played a part.
I will not talk about the insults I went through from those who now call the clearing of close to Z$1 000 000 debt a non event. Some of them even went to the point of telling other Bosso people not to play a part in the debt clearance and in the last days when some of them saw that the debt was indeed about to be wiped out, they came on board and true to the fact that to me it was not about Nodumo Nyathi, but Bosso, I embraced everyone and the goal was achieved.
“No one is special at Highlanders FC, to then go around portraying me as being given favours just because of the recognition I got on behalf of all who played a part in clearing the debt that has long been there and a big, big hindrance to club development is not good in my view. But I understand freedom of expression is allowed. Bosso won, Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda, that’s what matters,” wrote Nyathi. The Chronicle