By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders’ players that fail to turn up for the team’s training session this morning will face disciplinary action.
Seven players, defenders Peter Muduhwa and Vincent Moyo, the central midfield trio of Brian Banda, Divine Mhindirira and Adrian Silla, winger Cleopas Kapupurika and utility player Mbekezeli Sibanda are yet to report for pre-season duty.
Highlanders started preparations for the new season last week, with most senior players, who include the league’s reigning Goalkeeper of the Year Ariel Sibanda, left-back Mbongeni Ndlovu and midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku joining the squad late.
Sources in the technical team said absent players will be disciplined.
“Training started last week and a number of those who missed the opening sessions communicated that they were either travelling or tying up some loose ends which we understood. Peter and BB (Banda) said they were in South Africa and we were expecting them today, but they didn’t communicate.
“Mhindirira last week said he was travelling to base, but he hasn’t turned up. We haven’t heard from Mbekezeli and Vincent, while Kapupurika is said to have visited the office,” said the source.
“The programme has started and those who’ve missed the sessions will be dealt with accordingly. We don’t want a situation where people abscond from work and then it affects the team’s preparations and subsequently performance.
“Tomorrow (today) marks our seventh day into the 2020 working calendar and if they fail to report for training they’ll face the music because they are all contracted to the club.”
From last season’s first team, Tinashe Makanda, Godfrey Makaruse, Tendai Ndlovu, Charlton Siamalonga, Bukhosi Sibanda, Andrew Mbeba, Ray Lunga and Munyaradzi Chitambwe reported for duty from the first day.
Dominic Jaricha and striker Dalubuhle Dlodlo from development side Bosso 90 are also part of the pre-season sessions.
The coaches’ concerns about missing players came a day after Highlanders’ chairman Kenneth Mhlophe told members at the club’s annual general meeting on Sunday that the players, technical team and secretariat operate within the confines of a code of conduct.
Thulani Dube, a life member had questioned how the club’s executive dealt with the players’ strike that saw the 2019 pre-season programme being affected for three weeks.
“We understand the 2020 pre-season training has started and some players are yet to report for duty. Last season we had a problem when players decided to strike at the commencement of the pre-season camp and that affected the team’s performances.
“The question I have is, what’s the procedure or how do you deal with such players because when they are given their dues or when they have their grievances attended to, the club would have lost time it can’t get back?”
In his response, Mhlophe said: “There is a code of conduct to deal with such issues. Any player, the technical team, member of the secretariat and even us (executive) operate within the confines of a code of conduct. If players or members of the technical team breach that code of conduct, they will be dealt with accordingly.” The Chronicle