By Innocent Kurira
Highlanders have broken their silence after being sidelined during the burial of former club chairman Enerst “Maphepha’’ Sibanda, about two weeks ago.
Sibanda, who won four successive league titles as team manager, and one as chairman, was buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery on August 14. The Bosso Class of ‘98, which Maphepha, and Bulawayo City FC, where he was a board member, took centre stage.
Highlanders were snubbed for “punishing’’ Sibanda for life for his alleged embezzlement of funds, from the sale of Obadiah Tarumbwa, to Belgian side Cercle Brugge, in 2008.
Although Sibanda paid back the money, the club chose not to pardon him, and he was barred from holding any elected position.
His backers accused Highlanders of side-lining Sibanda and never forgave the club for that.
Yesterday, Bosso gave their side of their story.
“As is the norm, according to the long-standing club’s bereavement culture, the club offered financial and transport assistance to the Sibanda family,’’ the club said.
“This was declined and the reason was that these were instructions Ernest Maphepha Sibanda had given while he was still alive (hence) the exclusion of the club by the organisers, from the funeral proceedings.
“Highlanders FC would like to officially set the record straight, in acknowledging Mr Ernest Maphepha Sibanda’s sterling contribution to the club’s quest to develop, further promote and advance the game of football.
“It should be noted that the club denied him a second bid to run for the chairmanship post in 2018, on account of a corporate governance issue, which had arisen during his term of office, in the period 2006-2008.
“Club members will remember the detailed report made to the AGM and the resolution made on it.
“Highlanders FC would not like to revisit the details of the matter as it was amicably resolved with Mr Ernest Maphepha Sibanda at the time.”
Bosso also distanced themselves from some of the speeches, made during the burial ceremony. Consequently, Highlanders FC, therefore, wishes to completely dissociate itself from the many false allegations, and ill-informed statements, made by some of the speakers at the burial service beamed live on Facebook, designed to deliberately tarnish the good image of the club.
“Contrary to the picture portrayed by some of the speakers, Highlanders FC would like to assure all its stakeholders, associates and partners that it is a well-established, tried-and-tested entity, which is governed by clear rules and regulations as determined, by the club’s constitution and the football statutes at large.
“Only designated club authorities can communicate the club’s official position on club matters. The Herald