Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS benefactor, Kenneth Mhlophe is pained that his kind gesture, when he offered to pay part of what the club owes in winning bonuses was snubbed before the club later sought his help.
Mhlophe yesterday said he went to the Bosso training session at Barbourfields Stadium last Tuesday where he found the players not training. He went on to phone the club’s executive secretary-general, Emmett Ndlovu to find out why the players were not fine-tuning, only to be told that they were on strike over winning bonuses.
“I actually went to watch them train on Tuesday but found them not training, then I phoned Emmett Ndlovu to find out what was really going on, he told me that the boys were not training because of winning bonuses,’’ Mhlophe said.
The businessman said when he offered to assist settle part of what the club owes the players, Ndlovu came back to him saying they could not accept his kind gesture since there was division within the executive. Mhlophe said what surprised him was that Highlanders treasurer Donald Ndebele later called him last Friday to inform him that the club was now willing to accept his offer.
“I offered to pay for one game, he (Ndlovu) came back to me and said there is politics at play so they cannot accept my offer. I was surprised when treasurer Donald Ndebele called me saying I can go ahead, I informed him that I no longer have that money,’’ said Mhlophe.
What further pains Mhlophe are allegations that he is actually the one who encouraged the players to go on strike yet he has never spoken to any Bosso player over the matter.
“My heart is bleeding, I have never spoken to any of the players, I was giving the club the money, it had no strings attached to it. My heart pains when accusations are made that I am the one inciting the players to go on strike,’’ he said.
Highlanders pay $170 to each player who is part of the 18 and the same amount to the three members of the technical team for an away win which means Mhlophe’s offer stood at $3 570.
Ndebele confirmed that he informed Mhlophe that they can accept his offer but they did not know the terms which came with the money. Ndlovu could not be reached for a comment yesterday. — @Mdawini_29