‘Twitter kings’ Bulawayo Chiefs treating players like slaves: Salaries last paid in June

They might portray the image of a very organized institution on social media, but Bulawayo Chiefs, just like many clubs in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, are struggling financially.

The Ninjas, despite the systematized way they make people believe they are on the microblogging site Twitter, have not paid their players’ salaries in the last six months.

Since June, Amakhosi players have persevered but their patience ran out last week, when they besieged the club’s offices in Bulawayo and staged a demonstration.

What triggered the players’ anger is that the club’s executive has added greed to their growing list of weaknesses.

Amakhosi beat Herentals in the 2022 Chibuku Super Cup final at Babourfields Stadium back in November but the Lovemore Sibanda-led executive kept the entire prize money to itself, to the disbelief and fury of the players.

“There are a lot of things the local football fraternity doesn’t know about Bulawayo Chiefs. To begin with, we have not been paid since June, we would depart for league games late towards the end of the season because there was no fuel,” a senior player who asked not to be named, told Soccer24.

“We were very patient with the club leadership, until the Chibuku Super Cup final. We signed a contract before the final that as players, we would share 70% of the prize money if we win.

“We won the cup final but got nothing, they (the executive), kept all the money. To make things worse, they just kept quiet as if nothing had happened, until now,” added the player.

Another player who spoke to Soccer24 on condition of anonymity, accused the Chiefs executive of being insensitive to the plight of players.

“They even lied to us at some point that the PSL had not deposited the Chibuku Super Cup prize money into the team’s account, only for us to inquire through the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) and found out that money had been paid in full,” he said.

“Now when we call Andrew Mandigora (executive member responsible for finance), he either gives us excuses or does not pick up his phone.

“To make matters worse, there are Ghanaian players who are stuck in Bulawayo with no food and money for plane tickets to go back home. Their contracts have expired and need money to go back home but no one even cares,” added the player.

Upon signing for Chiefs, some players were made to sign 5-year contracts and promised stands and houses but those promises have vanished into thin air.

“It’s just Twitter publicity, behind the scenes it’s total chaos,” said another player.

Chiefs coach, Portuguese mentor Nilton Terroso has also not been paid since June and his assistant Thulani Sibanda, who oversaw the Chibuku Super Cup success, refused to renew his contract which expires on December 31 2022 and has communicated to the club’s executive, of his intentions to join Triangle United.

Efforts to get a comment from Chiefs spokesperson Thulani ‘Javas’ Sibanda were in vain as he did not respond to questions sent to him.



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