HIGHLANDERS have written to Bantu Rovers in a bid to stop the former Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) side from signing three of their Under-18 players.
“We are getting sick and tired of underhand activities by clubs that ought to be acting professionally,” said chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede in an interview yesterday.
“They lose nothing by opening negotiations. We have invested in those boys and we are not amused.”
Bantu Rovers stand accused by Bosso of courting the services of Gladmore Bharibhari, Prince Phiri and Nyasha Garayi without approaching the former Castle Lager PSL champions first.
In a letter dated January 16 2015 Gumede wrote: “I am advised that Bantu Rovers are in the process of registering some of our juniors without the courtesy of engaging Highlanders Football Club. The club invests a lot of money in its junior development programme and it is unfair if not unethical for want of a better term to ‘reap where you didn’t sow’.
“The players purported to being targeted by yourselves are Gladmore Bharibhari, Prince Phiri (and) Nyasha Garayi. If indeed it is true that you are proceeding to register the players without engaging Highlanders Football Club, we shall oppose such registration with all the force open to us. We will be privileged to hear from Bantu Rovers.”
The letter was copied to Zifa Bulawayo Province, PSL and Gumede said he would also send another to Zifa Southern Region.
The veteran administrator said it was unethical for clubs to entice parents with groceries for their children to join their clubs.
“That practice of clubs enticing parents to get them to agree to move their children to certain clubs on the pretext that they would give them groceries must be attended to by Zifa,” he said.
“It is not football. While we appreciate that the clubs will be helping out they must not cut across football ethics.”
He said they were investing in the Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 teams.
“These players go through a system and we cannot have another team waiting at the end for our investment and take them when they are Under-18. We are not going to allow it,” he said.
Bantu Rovers general manager Wilbert Sibanda dismissed the issue saying they had done everything above board.
“We signed two of the players Nyasha Garayi and Gladmore Bharibhari,” he said.
“We had the same problem last year with people who want to be taught football procedures. They complain about this, but we have never signed a player that has a contract with another team. We do our homework first. If they are interested in joining us and we want them, we sign them.
“If the player does not have a contract at the end of the season, that is in December, and the club has not expressed interest in the player, we will approach them if the club they are turning out for has not shown any interest. We followed procedure.”
Last year, Bantu Rovers faced the same problem when teams in the Zifa Bulawayo Junior League refused to play against them citing “underhand dealings” by the club.
The matter was, however, resolved and Bantu Rovers were found not guilty of poaching players.