Former Germany Parliamentarian and Highlanders’ 1987 Germany Tour facilitator Dr Reinhold Hemker is in the country, and he has met the club president Ndumiso Gumede and chief executive officer Nhlanhla Bahlangene Dube to exchange notes on various issues including the possibilities of rekindling the good relationship the German international enjoyed with the club in the 1980s.
The July 1987 Germany tour made Highlanders the first Zimbabwean club to tour Europe and the team played matches with Germany teams, including then Division One side Emstedden 05, a Club Madinda Ndlovu and Tito Paketh immediately signed for, before they were later on joined by Willard Khumalo in 1989.
Gumede confirmed meeting Hemker, saying it was a pleasure seeing the man who was the architecture of the 1987 Germany Tour.
“He was the original planner of the trip. He is here to visit the projects which he funds with his friends. Tomorrow he is going to Namibia for a meeting. He has a lot of projects across Southern Africa. He asked a lot about the club, so I had to introduce him to the CEO so that they keep in touch and exchange notes,” said Gumede.
Dube said it was good meeting Hemker and talking about the possibilities of rekindling the Highlanders’ relationship with the Germany clubs.
“Given the background of his relationship with the club, it was great meeting him. We spoke about a lot of possibilities, particularly on exchange programmes for our coaches and players. We will continue engaging him on various projects,” Dube said.
The 65-year-old Hemker, a man who is particularly involved in the field of development policy and sports policy, where he also performs various honorary functions in his native country, had a brief meeting with Gumede and Dube in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
Among other things, Hemker is President of the German-Zimbabwean Society and board member of the Board of Trustees Sports and Nature.
He was re-elected into parliament in 1990, but he resigned on 30 November 1994 from the state parliament, following his election as the member of the German Bundestag on 10 November 1994 until 2009 where he left the Bundestag.
This might be an opportunity for Highlanders, a club that once exported talent direct to Europe to re-strategise and open avenues for direct trade for players with European clubs.
In the recent past, South Africa has become the final destination for most Zimbabwean players, a culture which Highlanders can break for its players.
The club has in the past produced players like Ndlovu (Madinda), Paketh, Peter Ndlovu, Adam Ndlovu, Benjamin Nkonjera, Willard Khumalo, Zenzo Moyo and Joel Luphahla among others, who enjoyed stints in Europe.