BY FORTUNE MBELE
HIGHLANDERS players have agreed to return to training after the club’s management agreed to top up their monthly salaries by an extra US$70.
The players last week embarked on an industrial action to press for an upward review of their salaries.
They only trained a day before they played their third Group 2 Chibuku Super Cup round-robin match, which they won 1-0 against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
However, the players refused to attend a gym session on Tuesday and following the job action, the Wednesday meeting yielded positive results as the players returned to training.
An impeccable source yesterday told NewsDay Sport that the Highlanders executive led by chairman Johnfat Sibanda, on Wednesday met with the players in the presence of Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) president Desmond Maringa and his deputy Herbert Dick.
The meeting, according to the source, was also attended by club chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube and committee member Mgcini Mafu.
“Management agreed to give the players an extra US$70 each on top of their salaries, which becomes a monthly payout going forward and they agreed to go back to training. The chairman (Sibanda) and one executive committee member (Mafu), the chief executive officer (Dube), and FUZ members attended the meeting where differences were ironed out. They agreed the money will be paid today (yesterday) for the month of May,” the source said.
Representing the players at the meeting were the three club captains goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, Peter Muduhwa and Nqobizitha Masuku.
Highlanders spokesperson Ronald Moyo was not available for comment. After the Sunday game, one player said they were not pressured or persuaded to play the game against Bulawayo City, but decided on their own to fulfil the fixture.
“It’s sad because even you journalists are involving yourselves in the club leadership politics, writing about all this and it is affecting us players,” the player said.
“We have families to feed and you guys are enjoying the club politics and not thinking about us. We were never told or persuaded to abandon the strike. We did it on our own.”
The Bulawayo giants will be inactive this weekend in the Chibuku Super as only Group 1 matches will be played at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Highlanders are already poised for a quarter-final berth in the competition, having played two wins and a draw and sit on position two with seven points in Group 2, at par with leaders Chicken Inn who also won two games and drew one.
Two top teams from each of the four groups in the tournament will make it to the quarter-finals.
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