Most of Zimbabwe Saints’ senior players, unhappy with salary issues, are seeking clearances from the club’s executive to join new clubs as the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) window period opens on Friday.
Players who spoke to NewsDay Sport on Tuesday said morale is very low at the club, which is travelling to Hwange on Sunday for a match against Chipangano.
“We are seeking clearances so we can join other clubs, but we are not sure if we are going to be cleared. When the season started, most players signed one-year contracts with the club, but it has been difficult. The monies are not coming,” one of the players said.
Last week, leading to the BancABC Sup8r Cup quarter-finals, when the PSL matches were suspended, most of the senior players who included goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya, Abraham Mbaiwa, Ntokozo Tshuma, Nkosilathi Dube and Fortune Nyambosi allegedly did not attend training.
Leo Kurauzvione, Tafadzwa Maingire, Philip Sithole, Peter Muzondo, Ngonidzashe Murisa and Isaac Pitamuja also allegedly did not attend training.
Yesterday, only a few players attended training at a local gym in the morning and said they would not be going for practice in the afternoon.
One of the senior players said if the club was unwilling to clear them, they would be approaching the Football Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) to seek recourse.
“It’s no use. There is no training in the afternoon. How are we expected to train on empty stomachs? Some players were at the gym in the morning but they left without training. If we do not get cleared after July 1, then most players are saying they will be approaching Fuz because we are not getting paid,” the player said.
Contacted for comment on the issue of players seeking clearances from the club, chairman Felix Dzumbunu said he was not aware of that.
One of the senior players, former Highlanders’ striker Simbarashe Gate has already been cleared by the club and is understood to be training with Shabanie Mine.
Zimbabwe Saints acquired Eagles’ franchise at the beginning of the season and hastily assembled a squad for their Premiership campaign with players frequently threatening industrial action.
Despite the ups and downs at the Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo-coached Chikwata, the club has not fared badly in the first half of the season, winning four games and drawing five in 14 matches.
They have lost five matches, with defeat to Highlanders in Bulawayo as well.