BY FORTUNE MBELE
FORMER Warriors assistant coach Bongani Mafu (pictured)has taken Botswana team Mochudi Centre Chiefs to Fifa in a bid to force the team to pay him outstanding salaries and bonuses.
Mafu was part of the Warriors technical bench when the team won the 2017 Cosafa Cup under Sunday Chidzambga.
The former Highlanders coach, together with Philani Mabhena have approached the world football governing body in a bid to recover over 571 000 pula (US$50 000) owed to them by the relegated Chiefs.
Reports from Botswana show that Mafu, who was earlier this year appointed head coach at Hwange, is owed P449 500 (US$40 000) for the 2016/17 season when he was the head coach of the club.
Mabhena, formerly with FC Platinum and How Mine, wants P121 000 (US$10 000) from the Botswana club which he served in the 2018/19 season.
He said he decided to escalate his matter to Fifa after exhausting all other avenues in an effort to get his dues.
“It is unfortunate my I had to engage a lawyer who took the case to Fifa after my former team Centre Chiefs failed to honour our termination agreement,” he said.
Mabhena only spent six months at the club, leaving in January last year.
Mafu refused to comment on the issue, referring questions to his lawyers who were, however, unreachable.
Fifa has since ordered Chiefs to pay the two coaches their dues or face a transfer ban.
However, the reports from Botswana suggest that Chiefs are dilly-dallying on the matter and have asked for an extension to the deadline they had been given to pay.
They had been given until Thursday this week to settle the debt in full.
Botswana newspaper Mmegi quoted an unnamed Chiefs official saying “Chiefs is a community team so the executive committee on its own cannot deal with the matter without consulting the supporters. The committee has written back to Fifa to request time to meet with the members. The date of the meeting is yet to be announced as the committee awaits a response from Fifa on their extension request.”
Club president Thapelo Tsheole was quoted by the same newspaper saying, “If you saw and read the letters from Fifa they clearly instruct us to treat the issue as confidential. So I will not give any comment. I can only say that we are dealing with the matter.”
Fifa does not take lightly to cases of clubs refusing to pay their coaches and it is expected that the governing body will come down heavily on the beleaguered club.
In 2015, Fifa expelled the Warriors from the preliminary competition of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia after Zifa failed to pay an outstanding debt to former Warriors coach José Claudinei Georgini, commonly known as Valinhos.
Chiefs, the former Botswana league champions were relegated from the top flight in the 2018/19 season and are reported to be facing financial difficulties.
Another former Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu previously coached the team, and guided them to league glory.