The decision by Highlanders to prioritise paying club vice-chairman Sikhanyiso Moyo ahead of players triggered the player revolt that rocked the club on Wednesday and continued yesterday, it has emerged.
A highly placed source at the club also revealed that cracks within the power corridors at the club further fuelled the already volatile situation.
Highlanders players boycotted training on Wednesday over outstanding bonuses from their last three wins after getting wind that the club's vice-chairman Moyo had been paid the money he advanced the club to meet expenses for their game against Monomotapa.
Sources said the physically imposing Moyo advanced the club $3 000 and reportedly made it clear that soon after the match against Black Mambas, the club should pay back the money.
The players were also expecting to be paid their outstanding bonuses from the proceeds of the same match.
According to one senior player, a winning bonus for each game is $275 per player and this means that Highlanders owe their players $14 850.
The players yesterday had light training at Hillside after being promised that they will get their dues on Monday.
"This is not how things should be because if you work you expect to be paid on time and if there are problems you expect the leadership to explain. We briefly trained today after we were promised payment on Monday and it is our hope that they will honour their promise," said the player.
Another player said they did not want to be involved in club politics as theirs was to play soccer.
"What happens in the boardroom is for the leadership to sort out but if that spills to affect my livelihood then there is a problem. Imagine you are waiting for your money and you hear that the boss has been paid ahead of you. Isn't that an issue of wrong priorities?" questioned the player.
The players said they would start committing themselves fully at training after being paid.
At the moment, the players are training under assistant coaches Bekithemba Ndlovu and Tembo Chuma in the absence of head coach Kelvin Kaindu who is in Zambia and is expected back at the weekend.
"We asked the manager (Amin Soma Phiri) to inquire about our bonuses but he failed to give us a satisfactory answer and that is when we agreed that until they pay us, we will not train. We just had light training and you could see that the guys' morale is down.
"We want to assure the fans that we respect them and we will do everything to make them happy because they support us but how can we be happy if we are not motivated? We want what is rightfully ours" said another player.
The player said there were times when they would go for games without being paid and because of Kaindu's encouragement, they always did their best.
According to a source from senior management, the executive is divided on the way forward.
The source said everything started after the forensic audit which the club undertook after allegations of financial mismanagement started a few months ago.
"There are serious divisions at the club, both in the board and executive. That issue of financial mismanagement where the treasurer (Odiel Nkomo) allegedly paid himself after the Dynamos game in July has cracked the house and when VC (Moyo) was paid on Monday, the players got to know about that and they reacted," said a source.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Highlanders chairman Peter Dube downplayed the issue of rifts in his executive and said they were running around to secure funds to clear the bill.
"It's not a secret that we have debts which we inherited which are close to half a million dollars.
We did not pay Moyo alone as there were other people who had advanced us money with conditions that we repay them as soon as possible. The money was used to meet expenses for the trip to Harare for the Monomotapa game and we also used the remainder to pay for camp expenses for the Black Mambas game.
"Having said all that, we are making frantic efforts to make sure that we pay the boys. What baffles us is the timing of this training boycott. Actually we will be meeting them tomorrow (today) to address their grievances," said Dube.
This is the first time that Bosso players have boycotted training this season to protest against non- payment of bonuses.
The Bosso executive is hard-pressed to pay the outstanding bonuses. The executive cannot afford to disappoint players at this crucial juncture when the team is chasing a cup double — the Premiership title and the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
Highlanders' next league game is against long-time rivals Dynamos.
Tshilamoya trail DeMbare by two points.
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