Highlanders players back at training

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(File Photo): Highlanders players training

THINGS returned to normal in the Highlanders camp after a one-day strike over outstanding winning bonuses as players returned to training ahead of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against FC Platinum tomorrow at Mandava.

BY THANDIWE MOYO

The biggest match in Week 12 of the PSL programme was under serious threat as Highlanders clearly stated they had no money to clear the debts, amounting to over $8 000 for three wins against Flame Lily, Dongo Sawmill and Whawha.

The players were owed between $140 (home win) and $170 (away win) each for winning bonuses.

The players trained at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday afternoon after a benefactor, identified as Ngwenya, based in Harare sourced funds.

All the players save for those absent due to injury and national team commitments were at the training ground.

Obadiah Tarumbwa, Knox Mutizwa, Arial Sibanda, Njabulo Nyoni, Webster Chingodza, Bruce Kangwa, Tendai Ngulube, Valentine Ndaba, Welcome Ndiweni, Simon Munawa, Godfrey Makaruse, King Nadolo, Rahman Kutsanzira, Erick Mudzingwa, Douglas Sibanda and Felix Chindungwe were some of the players at training.

Coach Bongani Mafu was handling one team while Innocent Mapuranga handled the other side as they played a 11-v-11 match.

Assistant coach Mandla Mpofu was also in attendance.

Gabriel Nyoni and Mthulisi Maphosa and goalkeeper Takunda Mutanga were absent due to injuries.

Nqobizitha Masuku, Teenage Hadebe and Thomas Chideu are with the national Under 23 side that plays Swaziland in Mbabane on Sunday.

Earlier in the day during a Press conference at 50 Robert Mugabe Way, chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede confirmed they had sourced money from one of their supporters based in Harare.

“The guy who is helping me from Harare has sent the money but it’s not reflecting at the bank yet. I am doing my part. I am expecting those guys to say once the money comes in, we will have done enough to go and defeat FC Platinum because it would be money just being put in the bottomless pit,” said Gumede.

The CEO said they were surprised that the players resorted to striking after the board chairman Mgcini Nkolomi had spoken to them about the winning bonuses the previous week and they had received their salaries on Wednesday.

“I was surprised that our boys could go on strike because yesterday (Wednesday) was their payday and they were all at our sponsor’s bank (BancABC) getting their salaries and from there going on to say it’s not enough,” he said.

“The board chairman told the players that despite the poor form that is seemingly being displayed currently the board and the management are fully behind the players and their coaching department and that they should not panic, settle down and bring us results.

The board chairman admitted that we are in arrears vis-à-vis your bonus payments all we ask is do your job and soon things will be alright and soon we can fill Barbourfields Stadium and pay your arrears.

That is why I say I am surprised that after that very nice speech and commitment not only from me they go on to strike.”

Gumede said from a non-technical point of view the players were shooting themselves in the foot.

“From a non-technical point of view they are taking the focus away from the game and anything can happen now and when anything happens and it means if the worst does happen things are going to get worse.

They are being ill advised and they have been part of the problem. That I can’t shake away because our figures have been going down,” said the Bosso boss.