Highlanders players stage a sit-in and refuse to train yesterday at Barbourfields Stadium

A STRIKE by Highlanders players yesterday forced the club to cancel this week’s training programme after players insisted they would only return to training after being paid at least their January salaries.

Bosso players staged a sit-in despite some members of the club’s executive rushing to the team’s Barbourfields training ground to plead with them.

Not even “smooth talking” from the club vice-chairman Modern Ngwenya and treasurer Donald Ndebele could break the impasse.

Besides cancellation of the afternoon training session, Highlanders cancelled the morning training session at the sandy Ascot Race Course, as their bus had no diesel, which they only managed to get in the afternoon.

“It’s simple, we want our January salaries. Of course, we understand that the club is still talking to sponsors, but our landlords don’t care about that; they just want their rentals paid. We also have to feed our families and people who’ve been bailing us out are also getting fed up,” said one player.

“What we’ve agreed is that we will only start training when our January salaries have been paid. The treasurer (Ndebele) told us that the latest we can get our money is next week Tuesday and we said fine, we will report for work, but will not train. We know that Caps United have made a plan and paid their players January salaries, why can’t the club also do the same.”

Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United were sponsored by NetOne last season and negotiations for contract renewals are reportedly at an advanced stage.

Caps United players are said to have told their Bosso counterparts that normalcy had returned in their camp after club directors, who include the Premiership chairman Farai Jere, sourced funds to pay their January salaries.

Highlanders’ chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube said the players had been given time off for the rest of the week.

“We’re at a stage where we will be playing friendlies and the technical team felt that the players have been over trained and gave them a rest for this week so that their muscles recover. The technical team will continue with their work, working with the Division One side (Bosso 90) to bring standards high, so that as the year progresses they grow,” said Dube.

The strike comes three weeks after the first industrial action staged by the players when 16 members of the squad walked out of their physical training and bonding camp in Matobo over outstanding bonuses.chronicle