An unidentified well-wisher has come to Highlanders FC’s rescue giving the club at least $5 000 for players following their industrial action on Wednesday in protest over outstanding bonuses.
The club pays the players’ bonuses while the salaries come from their principal sponsor BancABC. The club owes them winning bonuses for their wins against Shabanie Mine, Hwange and Black Mambas and the benefactor has agreed to lend the club money for one of the games.
According to one senior player, a winning bonus for each game is $275 and this means that Highlanders owe their players $14 850.
A highly placed source said the executive held two emergency meetings meant to deal with the players’ disgruntlements on Wednesday and yesterday morning which were attended by chairman Peter Dube, his deputy Sikhanyiso Moyo and committee member Charles “Six-One” Moyo.
The other executive members, secretary Andrew Tapela and treasurer Odiel Nkomo were conspicuous by their absence.
“We have had three meetings, two as executive members and the other one with the board. In all the meetings we discussed ways of harnessing funds to clear the debts but there are some members who did not bother coming or let alone give excuses raising eyebrows that they might be against the well-being of the club.
“A worried life-member came forward and said he doesn’t want to see the club going down and gave us money to cushion the players and they will get part of their dues on Monday or Tuesday,” said the source.
Highlanders, according to the source, will pay back the benefactor who has on three occasions availed resources for the team to travel for their away matches to Harare and Hwange.
The strike exposed cracks in the club’s boardroom.
The players went on strike after getting wind that the club’s vice-chairman Moyo had been paid back his $3 000 which he had lent the club ahead of their trip to Monomotapa.
The players had anticipated the executive would take some money from the gate takings realised from the Black Mambas game to pay part of their bonuses. Peter Dube, Highlanders chairman, confirmed the gesture from an unnamed member and said they were still looking for funds to clear the debt.
“We did not deny from the onset that we owe players their allowances and fortunately enough, from the people who have been around assisting us somebody stood up and offered to help us. We are grateful to that member.
“We still have to raise the money to clear the players’ bill,” said Dube.
The Bosso executive is hard-pressed to clear the players’ dues as disappointing them is the last thing they need especially at a time when they are chasing a cup double that is the Premiership title and the Mbada Diamonds Cup.