Bulawayo Mining Company (“BMC”), the holding company of How Mine and the principal sponsor of How Mine Football Club, says it has shifted focus in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) from football to other critical community initiatives such as health and developing public infrastructure.
The football club, sponsored by BMC, a subsidiary of Zimbabwe’s biggest gold producer, Metallon Gold Zimbabwe, made its maiden appearance in the top flight league from ZIFA Southern Division One in 2013, but surrendered its football club franchise to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) last week.
Although the club claims it has shifted focus, How Mine FC ran into financial trouble last season with some key players going without salaries and winning bonuses.
When funding crunch reached tipping point last year, the football club’s senior players boycotted training, forcing coach Kelvin Kaindu to use inexperienced youngsters in the last matches of the Castle Lager Premiership season in 2017.
In December last year, Metallon Gold sold one of its mining operations Arcturus Mine, to TN Securities, as part of a strategy to get rid of loss-making units.
Metallon Gold Service Public Relations manager, Ranga Mberi, refuted claims that the club had relinquished the franchise as Metallon intended to spin-off loss-making units.
Mberi said the company had refocused its corporate social responsibility to concentrate on key areas of impact for business and the community. He said the change of focus will project the company as a more responsible corporate citizen committed to the development of the communities in which it operates.
Mberi said it was a mere model change in which they have withdrawn from football sponsorship value creation, to both the business and society in the areas of health and public infrastructure.
“BMC’s CSR approach showed that it would be more effective to run programmes that are driven and mandated by the communities themselves. Going forward, the mine will therefore focus on healthcare and public infrastructure, in partnership with local communities.
“BMC is currently reviewing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy with the aim to focus on projects that are mandated and driven by the local community.
“BMC’s future community investment policy is primarily focused on public infrastructure, education and healthcare. We will be concentrating on building houses, roads and making a difference in our communities.
“The company (BMC), which was the sponsor of the club, remains a profitable operation, as you can read from our previous production reports,” Mberi explained.
In a statement to the Premier Soccer League last week, How Mine made the announced it was surrendering its football club franchise ahead of the 2018 season.
Harare City has inherited the franchise.
“Bulawayo Mining Company (“BMC”), the holding company for How Mine and the principal sponsors of How Mine Football Club, announces that it has reached an agreement with the Premier Soccer League to surrender the How Mine Football Club premiership franchise,” Mberi said.
How Mine FC’s major highlight was their participation in the CAF Confederations Cup, a continental showcase in 2014, but were knocked out in the preliminary round by Chuoni FC from Zanzibar.
The Football Club, nicknamed Chikurupati, finished eighth on the log last season with 46 points, and reached the Chibuku Super Cup finals which it eventually lost to Harare City.
The club’s Zambian coach, Kaindu, who had a year still to run on his contract, terminated the contract with the club by mutual consent in January this year.
How Mine then elevated Bekithemba Ndlovu, a Caf A licence and national Under-20 coach, to the take over from Kaindu, but eventually surrendered its licence before the start of the season.