Tension is mounting at Premier Soccer League club Zimbabwe Saints where players are disgruntled with the inclusion of some players for the Highlanders derby at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday despite skipping training for the whole week.
Zimbabwe Saints got a rude awakening on Sunday when they were walloped 3-0 by old enemies Bosso and some players are bitter that Leo Kurauzvione, Tafadzwa Maingire and Peter Muzondo were included for the match after allegedly boycotting training over unpaid salaries.
The players alleged the three were given money by the executive while the rest of the players were yet to be paid their dues and that did not go down well with the other players.
“These guys only came back from Harare on Friday and they did not train for the whole week. Being players, we know that it was a directive from the top for them to be selected for that match because they only had light training on Saturday, a day before the match.
“To make matters worse, these guys have been given money and the rest of the players did not get anything. What we want is money as well and nothing else,” one disgruntled player said.
Kurauzvione, Maingire and Muzondo allegedly went absent without official leave after they were given a long weekend off when the Warriors played Mali in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier two weeks ago.
They missed the Zimbabwe Saints/Shabanie Mine midweek league match and reportedly came back to Bulawayo last Friday only to be selected for the Highlanders match.
Another player said about eight senior players had attended a meeting with the executive while others were at the gym and he was not sure what criteria was used to choose the representatives for the meeting.
Zimbabwe Saints chairman Felix Dzumbunu said the selection of players for a match was the prerogative of the coaches and there was no way the executive could interfere with that.
He professed ignorance that the players were not happy over the issue, saying that amounted to a communication breakdown between the players and the executive.
Dzumbunu said the players’ absence from training was an issue that had to be dealt with by the coaches who had the trust of the executive, and management would not brook any interference.
He denied that the Harare-based players had been given any money.
“We did not impose any players. That is on the coaches. No payment was made for the Harare players. What we did was to make the players available for the coaches. There will never be interference. Look, we have confidence in the ability of our coaches. The players’ absence is a matter for the coaches to decide,” Dzumbunu said.
On the issue of monies owed to the players, Dzumbunu admitted to that, but said the amounts were minor and the issue had been resolved at a meeting held with the players.
“The executive had a meeting with the players this morning (yesterday) while others were at the gym.
There has been a communication breakdown between the players and the executive and everything has been explained and everybody is satisfied with the outcome of the meeting,” Dzumbunu said.