Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS have paid striking players their two months’ salaries, ending a three-week wage protest.
Payment of the January and February salaries is expected to bring normalcy to the club, whose pre-season programme went up in jeopardy.
Bosso sponsors, NetOne, reportedly came to the rescue of the club depositing salaries into the players’ accounts on Tuesday evening, with the final batch of February wages paid up by lunchtime yesterday.
The players boycotted the club’s meeting aimed at informing them about the revised training schedule yesterday morning. Only midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku turned up for the 9.30AM meeting and went on to do some physical training.
According to sources, the players returning from strike had to be cleared by the club’s management before attending training.
“The guys agreed not to attend the meeting because we wanted to first confirm if indeed our January and February salaries had gone through. What the guys feared was that some got their January and February salaries once on Tuesday, while some got paid for one month on Tuesday and the fear was that maybe those who had not received salaries for two months were going to have some money deducted. Now that we’ve been paid in full, we are going to training tomorrow and we will hear from the management on the way forward,” said a player.
Another player questioned why management wanted them cleared at the office before going for training.
“We were told by our teammates that they made them write a letter stating why one was absent from work, yet they know that we were on strike waiting to be paid. We think once we write those letters they will come back to haunt us,” said the player.
Efforts to get a comment from Highlanders’ chairman Kenneth Mhlophe, chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube or communications officer Ronald Moyo were fruitless.
With three weeks of pre-season training wasted and only two weeks left before the 2019 season kicks off, Highlanders are likely to complete their programme when the season is already underway.
However, Bosso players who were on strike claim to be fit saying they had been working out at the gym.
Highlanders have a demanding schedule at the beginning of the season, starting their campaign with an away trip to Black Rhinos in Harare.
Bosso will play a blockbuster against Caps United at Barbourfields Stadium in the second week before travelling to the capital to face Harare City in their third game.
Highlanders will then play host to Triangle United on Matchday Four before travelling to Bindura for a date against new boys Mushowani Stars. — @ZililoR