FORMER Highlanders Rugby Club players based in the UK, who have organised a fundraising dinner at Manchester Rugby Club set for Saturday, want to raise the profile of their former club.
The guys have been together since 2020 and would love to contribute to the future of the club and the sport.
Most played for the club in the 1980s well into the 2000s before moving abroad. But they have not cut ties with their former club, the first exclusively high-density side formed as Matabeleland Rhinos before changing to Western Suburbs, a name they would later ditch.
They became Highlanders Rugby Club in 1988 after joining the Highlanders Sports Association, which had embraced a number of sporting disciplines.
“Our long-term goal is to be the best club in Zimbabwe that provides a pathway for young players coming through schools to be part of the great club. We want to build friendships and be better people,” said Sakhumuzi Ngwenya.
He said they are eager to build a legacy that rugby is a great game that builds communities, is about discipline and can provide opportunities for one to better themselves.
Ngwenya said the Highlanders Rugby Old Boys Association, which was formed in the UK in 2020 has 12 members. Since their formation, they have managed to foster relationships with the Zimbabwean community in that country which has come in handy to help them raise funds for the project back in Bulawayo.
He emphasised that the reason the club was formed was so that it could give back.
“The drive behind forming the Association is to give back to the Highlanders Rugby Club we all played for and love. Being in the UK gives us an opportunity to raise funds and help the club back home,” said Ngwenya, a former teacher.
He said they had over the years donated playing kit, training kit, off the field dressing like polo shirts and T-shirts and provide for the players’ transport. He said they assist both boys and girls at the club. Notably during the Covid break in 2020 and 2021, the club assisted players back home with food hampers.
“This was to alleviate the impact of Covid,” said Ngwenya.
He said monthly the former players meet to strategise towards fundraising.
The former Bosso players in the UK include Ngwenya, Brian Ndlovu, Brian Thokoza, Charles Shangare, Thabani ‘Vuvuzela’ Dube, Kura Munemo, Marko Maseko, Christopher Machache, Dumisani Moyo and have Orga Mathaba and Bheki Dlodlo in Australia chipping in and one Thamsanqa Nyoni in the US.
The 15 former players have given Highlanders hope of continued existence.
Among some of the better-known players for the club are Orga Mathaba, Victor Olonga, Nyarai Sibanda, Arthur Mathe, Thulani Tabulawa and the late Lameck Kasuka.
Ngwenya and Brian Ndlovu have been at the heart of mobilising former teammates to contribute to the club back home.
Highlanders played in the provincial and national leagues alongside Old Miltonians, Busters and Queens of Bulawayo at some stage.