Twins at birth, royals in spirit: Bosso, Libeth’s intertwined milestones

The Chronicle

Simba Jemwa

THEY were born Albert and Rhodes, sons of Njube himself the son of King Lobengula and founded an institution that has reigned for decades. Her birth name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, daughter of King George VI himself, the son of King George V. 

 1926 is the year that Njube’s two boys birthed Lions Football Club that later morphed into Matabeleland Highlanders 10 years later.

 That same year, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth), who later became Queen Elizabeth II was born.  Before Lisbeth was born, the colonialists, whose arrival on these shores was during the reign of Lisbeth’s great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, decided to placate Ndebele King Lobengula with a proposal to send his grandsons to study in the Cape Province in South Africa.

 In 1926, the two brothers returned from South Africa, where Albert had completed studies in agriculture at Tsolo Agricultural School and Rhodes completed studies in bookkeeping at Lovedale Institute. Both had taken to football as extramural activities. Rhodes continued playing soccer and formed a team called the Lions Football Club, composed mainly of boys born in Makokoba (Bulawayo’s oldest township).

 That year, the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, welcomed into the world their first child. Just as football on these shores welcomed the birth of what was to become Highlanders Football Club, Bosso, Tshilamoya, Amahlolanyama, Ezikamagebhula, Mantengwane. 

 Bosso and Lisbeth’s Diamond Jubilee Milestones


Bosso and Lisbeth are born


Lions’ players changed the name to Matabeleland Highlanders Football Club.

Lisbeth’s grandfather dies and her uncle succeeds as Edward VIII, and she becomes second in line to the throne, after her father. Later that year, Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Consequently, Elizabeth’s father became king, taking the regnal name George VI and since Elizabeth had no brothers, she became heir presumptive.

Queen Elizabeth


 The Rhodesia National Football League (RNFL) asked Highlanders to join them. They agreed and two years later were drafted into the 2nd Division. Highlanders finished top on their first year and were promoted to Division One.

In 1965, the Rhodesian prime minister, Ian Smith, in opposition to moves towards majority rule, unilaterally declared independence while expressing “loyalty and devotion” to Elizabeth, declaring her “Queen of Rhodesia”. Although Elizabeth formally dismissed him, and the international community applied sanctions against Rhodesia, his regime survived for over a decade.

Prince Njube and his two sons Albert and Rhodes


 Bosso was in the Super League, but after collecting just seven points, they were relegated back to the first division but were back in the top flight again a year later in 1971.

 In addition to performing traditional ceremonies, Queen Elizabeth also instituted new practices such as her first royal walkabout, meeting ordinary members of the public, which took place during a tour of Australia and New Zealand.


Tony McIlveen, a British export from Northern Ireland, joined Bosso. McIlveen had previous experience playing semi-professionally for Irish League side Crusaders, and whilst not known for his height, his tenacity as a midfield dynamo was an added bonus to the vastly improving side.

Elizabeth toured Yugoslavia, becoming the first British monarch to visit a communist country. She was received at the airport by President Josip Broz Tito, and a crowd of thousands greeted her in Belgrade.


 Highlanders FC won the Chibuku Trophy, beating high-profile Mangula at Rufaro Stadium. 

 As Britain’s ties to its former colonies weakened, the British government sought entry to the European Community, a goal it achieved in 1973.


 Highlanders became dissatisfied with the national administration led by Mr John Madzima, and pulled out of the RNFL to help form the South Zone Soccer League (SZSL). Some disgruntled senior members of the team broke away from Highlanders to form their own club, Olympics, even taking the black & white stripe. But Highlanders survived. 

The Queen visited Independence Hall 46 years ago, when she was just a 50-year-old. Queen Elizabeth II, stood with then-Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo on her visit to the ‘colony’ to commemorate America’s 200th birthday and this was the last time the Queen visited Philadelphia.

A young Queen Elizabeth II


 Most Harare-based clubs saw the wisdom of Highlanders’ decision and lent their support to the club against the national association’s injustices, such as unfair gate takings distribution, improper methods of accounting of finances, and preferential treatment of certain teams. The National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) was then formed as a result.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the UAE for the first state visit to the Emirate in February of 1979, arriving on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and dropped in on a lecture by a pioneering academic on England’s best-known playwright. The encounter with Prof Amel Amin-Zaki, professor of Shakespearean drama, was a highlight of the royal tour of the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain.


 NPSL and the RNFL were merged to form the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II superintends over the independence of Zimbabwe. The independence ceremony, presided over by her son Prince Charles (now King Charles III), heir to the British throne, began at midnight when the Union Jack was lowered.  On the 17th October 1980, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made history by becoming the first British monarch to travel to the Vatican, to meet the Pope. The Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed by Pope John Paul II. It was seen as a way of forging relations between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic religions. 

Highlanders players after winning the Independence Trophy in 2022


 A group of senior players left after falling out with the executives over money. Apprentices were upgraded to the senior team. Players included the likes of Rahman Gumbo, Mercedes Sibanda, Willard “Nduuuna” Mashinkila-Khumalo, Madinda Ndlovu, Dumisani Ngulube and many others. This crop of players was lovingly nicknamed Liverpool by its legion of fans. 

The Queen and Prince Philip visited China, making Elizabeth II the first British sovereign to visit there. As much as it was a state visit, it was also seen as a diplomatic one, as the visit came just a short time after the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China, about returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty. — @RealSimbaJemwa

Article Source: The Chronicle

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