By Sports Reporter
PREMIER Soccer League Black Rhinos have moved to avert a potentially damaging player mutiny over outstanding bonuses after axing four senior players for allegedly inciting a strike.
Former Dynamos and Highlanders forward Masimba Mambare together with Augustine Mbara, Honey Chimutimunzeve and Kibaki Dhlamini were dismissed last Wednesday after players at the army club boycotted training in protest over a delay in the payment of their winning bonuses.
Black Rhinos are sponsored by state-run mobile network operator, NetOne.
While the club is yet to officially confirm the axing of the quartet, Mambare told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview that he had indeed been sacked by the club but denied any involvement in last week’s strike.
“Yes it’s true that we were fired by the club but I believe that they had their own reasons for firing us because we never mobilised anyone to embark on the strike,” Mambare said in an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“In fact when I arrived for training last week and heard that my teammates were planning to go on strike, as a senior player I’m the one who tried to get the players to train. Among the four players who were dismissed no one encouraged anyone to strike and we were all shocked when we were told that we had been fired for encouraging other players to go on strike.”
The 33 year-old former Warriors player said the army club did not follow due process in their dismissal as the fired quartet was dismissed without a fair disciplinary hearing.
“There was never a disciplinary hearing on our matter, we were just handed letters of dismissal stating that the club has decided to terminate our contracts. I had a running contract with Black Rhinos until December next year and I don’t understand why they could just terminate my contract without a fair disciplinary hearing. I don’t know if that’s how they operate being an army club but what I know is that in football someone is given an opportunity to defend themselves,” Mambare said.
The sacking of the quartet comes at a time when Black Rhinos have been enjoying a solid season in the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Chipembere, as Black Rhinos are affectionately known currently occupy fourth position on the log on 23 points, just four behind defending champions and log leaders FC Platinum.
The army sideface Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday in their next league match.