HomeSportHighlanders coffers dry up

Highlanders coffers dry up

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BY FORTUNE MBELE

A SENIOR player at Highlanders says the situation at the Bulawayo-based football club is now dire amid revelations that a number of players are considering leaving over unpaid salaries.

The Highlanders players last received their salaries in May and two days ago, veteran goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda announced he was quitting the club on Facebook.

Sibanda yesterday refused to shed light on his earlier announcement.

However, another senior player, who chose to remain anonymous said the club leadership was not being honest to them.

“The problem with the situation at Highlanders is that those people (management) are not being honest, they don’t communicate and they don’t even check on us. You can imagine how players feel. Three months without a salary is a long time. We have been patient hoping that maybe they will change, but they have just gone quiet on us. Maybe they are comfortable with the way things are,” the senior player said.

He said the executive has been misrepresenting facts to the media.

“What pains most is that there is no communication. You would rather have someone communicating and telling you lies, at least you would think they care. But there has been no message, no phone call in three months. They have just been quiet. And then they give the wrong impression to the media. Someone will today say we have raised so much and the next day someone else denies.  The way the situation has been handled is way out of line. Imagine how we have been surviving in the last there months,” he said.

“If I wake up tomorrow and say I am quitting, I will be victimised. We have sacrificed for Highlanders. We could  have been at Chicken Inn or FC Platinum, but we chose Highlanders. As players, we have tried our best, but are they taking care of us?”

Highlanders players embarked on an industrial action over unpaid salaries in May and following the Footballers’ Union of Zimbabwe intervention, they received their salaries plus US$70 on top, with the club promising to pay the foreign currency quota later.

Sources say they were each paid the US$70 last week.

Last month after the Chibuku Super Cup was suspended, they staged a sit-in at the club offices for June salaries and demanded to meet chairman Johnfat Sibanda, without success.

Most clubs have been struggling to survive without sponsors as most rely on gate-takings.

Highlanders lost their NetOne sponsorship deal last year and have been depending on well-wishers and have appealed to the corporate world, members and supporters to come to the club’s rescue.

Follow Fortune on Twitter: @FortuneMbele

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