Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BIG things are brewing at Highlanders, with revelations that the Bulawayo giants are in advanced talks with a South African company that wants to inject $1 million into the club.
Alson Darikayi, the BTSG group corporate affairs director, confirmed that they were in talks with Highlanders.
“All I can say is yes, we’re in conversation with Highlanders over a number of business issues. I will refer your inquiry for more information to our chief executive officer (Justice Maphosa),” said Darikayi.
Sources said Big Time Strategic Group (BTSG), which was founded in 2000 by Maphosa a South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, is spreading its wings to Zimbabwe and views Highlanders as an avenue to increase visibility in the country.
According to BTSG’s website, the company is “composed of wholly-owned black South African companies with business interests in the ICT sector. The BTSG flagship is Computer Ink and Media Solutions, which grew from a backyard business into a sizable enterprise.”
The sources said BTSG, which also has interests in aviation and agriculture, was awaiting the outcome of Bosso’s elections before committing any investment.
“The company is spreading its wings to Zimbabwe, with the CEO (Maphosa), a firm believer in playing a part in the revival of the Zimbabwean economy seeing Highlanders as a perfect partner in driving the BTSG’s brand visibility. BTSG wants to invest $1 million in Highlanders. In as much as this is about brand visibility, Maphosa views the deal, which will be beneficial to Highlanders and BTSG as part of the company’s corporate social investment. Remember he has roots in Gwanda and Highlanders are popular, not only in Bulawayo, but around the country,” said the source.
The investment will cushion Highlanders, who are presently sinking in financial morass.
The source said Maphosa had been in touch with the Highlanders’ leadership, among them former board chairman Mgcini Nkolomi and chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube.
“Maphosa watched a number of Highlanders’ games last season and even toured the clubhouse and offices. Now that elections are over, the deal should be finalised once the Bosso and BTSG teams meet and agree on the terms. The stability within Highlanders, between the executive and the secretariat will be key in sealing the deal,” said the source.
The injection of $1 million will come as a relief to the Bosso executive led by newly elected chairman Colonel (Retired) Kenneth Mhlophe, vice-chairman Modern Ngwenya, secretary-general Israel Moyo, treasurer Donald Ndebele and committee member Wisdom Mabhena. Highlanders’ CEO Dube declined to comment on the potential BTSG deal.
“As Highlanders, we never speak about conversations relating to sponsorship or partnerships. This is meant to preserve relations with our would-be partners. Once there’s anything, our members will be informed accordingly,” said Dube.
Bosso are also waiting for finalisation of their deal with mobile phone network operator NetOne, which is believed to be in the region of $350 000.
Dynamos and Caps United are reportedly beneficiaries of a similar deal.