HIGHLANDERS players ended their strike on Wednesday evening after being paid part of their outstanding winning bonuses.
The strike, which began on Monday, had thrown the club’s Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter final clash with Monomotapa at the Colliery on Sunday in doubt.
Highlanders chairman Peter Dube said they were able to pay the players – who are owed $750 each – after getting $5,000 from a life member of the club who wished to remain anonymous.
The money was not enough to clear the debt but players had accepted a part payment, Dube added.
“Somebody has helped us,” he said. “He is a life member and it is not the first time he has helped. The players have received some money from us. We hope we can put everything behind. We cannot let our supporters down.”
The industrial dispute has unmasked the depth of Highlanders’ financial problems. Highlanders do not pay players’ salaries – the club’s principal sponsor BancABC picks up the bill leaving the club to pay bonuses.
But club bosses have admitted they are struggling to find the $250 they must pay to each player for a win. The debt built up after the club missed payments following wins over Black Mambas, Hwange and Shabanie Mine. The total debt is estimated to be $15,000.
Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu was an elated man on Thursday as he revealed they had held two training sessions to make up for lost time.
“The boycott affected us because we lost some days of training. We know what we want to achieve and we don’t want anything to distract us,” he said.
“We expect a good game because we beat Monomotapa 3-0 at home but they beat us by the same score in Harare in the league.”
Monomotapa were the team to end Highlanders’ 23-match unbeaten run as they tried to go a whole season unbeaten on Septemnber 29, and Sunday’s clash at a neutral ground in Hwange makes for a tasty encounter.
Quarter Final Draw
Dynamos v Gunners; Highlanders v Monomotopa; Shabanie Mine v FC Platinum; CAPS United v Buffaloes
Dynamos/Gunners v CAPS United/Buffaloes; Highlanders/Monomotapa v Shabanie Mine/FC Platinum
Mbada Diamonds Cup Prize Breakdown
Winners: $100,000 plus $150,000 subsidy for representing Zimbabwe in the CAF Confederation Cup
Semi-Final Losers: $30,000
Quarter-Final Losers: $20,000
First Round Losers: $10,000