By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders players resumed their industrial action yesterday after temporarily calling off the strike on Saturday morning to focus on Sunday’s Chibuku Super Cup match against Bulawayo City.
They fulfilled the City fixture after boycotting training for three days, demanding that the club honour its promise to review their wages upwards.
The players want their wages doubled.
They gave the executive committee a reprieve after intervention of the technical staff and went on to beat City 1-0 through goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda’s 85th minute penalty.
Boycotting the game would not only have embarrassed Highlanders and the sponsors, but attracted heavy sanctions for the financially crippled club.
Players were informed that an anonymous donor from Victoria Falls had pledged to meet half of the US$100 that the players are demanding each as a top up on their earnings, but rejected the offer after Bosso failed to raise an additional US$1 300.
By refusing to accept the US$50 each that the donor had availed, the players were hoping the club would have raised the difference by yesterday.
When they reported for training at a local gym in the central business district yesterday and were told that the club was still offering US$50 per player, they refused to train and the team bus left them in the CBD.
Team manager Vezigama Dlodlo returned the money to the office and relayed the players’ message to management.
“What we stuck to is what we had agreed on last week. Nothing has changed because we still don’t have money. The guys felt it’s better to wait for the club to address the issue before we start training. It’s not an ideal thing to miss training and as footballers we want to train, but how do you do that on an empty stomach. To make matters worse, they left us to look for our transport back home,” said one player.
Another player said the club’s stance on their concerns is “insincere”, hence their continued strike action.
“We think because they know that we’re not playing this coming weekend they decided to relax. But our position is clear, no money, no work. Even if you listen to the club’s response, they don’t sound concerned about our welfare. It’s as if we’re bothering them when we plead for our concerns to be addressed,” another player said.
Repeated efforts to get comment from Highlanders officials were fruitless. The Chronicle