The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
A CLIQUE of Highlanders players allegedly working with some influential people within the Bosso ranks have vowed to push out the club’s executive committee chairman, Johnfat Sibanda, which they hope will pave way for the return of his predecessor, Kenneth Mhlophe to the chairmanship.
Bosso players have gone for two months without getting salaries and are getting impatient by each passing day. While the players got some payments from funds raised through donations, they are still agitated by the further delay in paying them salaries, something they last got in May. They blame their plight on Sibanda who they say is not like Mhlophe, whom they say used to dig into his pocket whenever they approached him when things were tough.
“We want to push Johnfat Sibanda out, Mhlophe must come back. Mhlophe was much better, when we went to him, he used to give us some money so he was much better than the current chairman who tells us he doesn’t have money,’’ said one of the players.
Another player said they wrote a letter to “pass a vote of no confidence” in the executive but nothing was done about it.
“We wrote a letter to the board to pass a vote of no confidence in the executive committee but nothing was done about it so we are just fed up, we want to be released from our contracts,’’ he said.
It is said while board chairman Luke Mkandla, who brought the letter from the players into a joint sitting between the executive and board was for the idea of entertaining the communication from the players, the idea was thrown out. Only club members, who elect the executive committee have the powers to pass a vote of no confidence on Sibanda’s leadership.
Last Tuesday, club captain Ariel Sibanda made an announcement on social media that he was leaving Bosso after more than a decade of service. The goalkeeper has, however, not officially written to Highlanders seeking to be released from his contract, which expires at the end of this year.
While the 32-year is free to talk to any club that wants him, he has to see out his contract unless him and his employer reach a mutual decision to terminate the deal. Sibanda has been linked with a move to Bulawayo Chiefs where he has to fight off competition from younger goalkeepers, David Bizabani and Mattriples Muleya.
Highlanders players claim that the Twitter Kings are paying better, with salaries said to be pegged at US$300 a month, something that could not be independently verified.
The players who want out of Bosso are said to have taken the issue to the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ). However, yesterday, FUZ secretary-general, Thomas Sweswe said no Highlanders players has officially approached the body.
Some sections of club members have also blamed the chief executive officer, Nhlanhla Dube, for the divisions in the club.
“These are not serious allegations, they’re stupid allegations by lazy minds with infantile imaginations. I work for Highlanders as led by the chairman mandated by its membership through an election, period. I think the desire to politicise the secretariat is both old and tired.
That narrative is ridiculously unhelpful,’’ Dube said.
Some individuals who have supported Highlanders financially in the past are said to be part of the plan to have the current chairman removed so that Mhlophe returns. Efforts to establish from Mhlophe if he was yearning for an early return to the Bosso chairmanship were not successful. — @Mdawini_29