By Ricky Zililo
HIGHLANDERS players yesterday staged a sit-in at their White City Stadium B-Arena training base, demanding that the club addresses their salary adjustment pleas.
The players refused to train and threatened not to fulfil Sunday’s Chibuku Super Cup game against Bulawayo City if their grievances are not attended to.
They described their wages as “peanuts” and the lack of bonuses in the Chibuku Super Cup further compounded their woes.
Highlanders’ executive committee members, chairman Johnfat Sibanda and treasurer Donald Ndebele, as well as chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube pleaded with the players to focus on preparations for the match, while a solution was being sought, but the players were not moved.
The players arrived at the training venue, changed into their training kit, then refused to step onto the pitch that the coaches had “decorated” with cones, saying all they wanted was a commitment from the club’s leadership when their salaries would be reviewed.
“A meeting with the captains held earlier failed to yield results and we felt that this salary discrepancy matter should be dealt with once and for all. Imagine, the lowest player gets about $10 000 and the highest is in the region of about $17 000; surely these are slave wages.
“We need to pay rentals and school fees, and buy food from this money. Are we wrong to ask for a pay review?” said one of the players.
Another player said since they were reported to have a soft-spot for the chairman, they can’t be wrong to ask the chairman and his executive to reciprocate.
“It’s not that we don’t want to play football, but how do we concentrate knowing that there is nothing at home? Teams that we play against are getting bonuses. We beat Bulawayo Chiefs and there were no winning bonuses. How can there be no incentive for winning cup games?”
The players said they told the club chairman and treasurer that while they understood that there was no football and they had helped us during the lockdown, they can’t continue surviving like that because the dynamics had changed.
“Now that we are fully at work and can’t do side hustles anymore we want to be paid decent salaries. Soccer boots are US$300 and I can’t buy these essential tools of my trade using my current salary,” said a player.
No official comment could be obtained from the club, as Sibanda’s cellphone continuously rang unanswered. The Chronicle