“Our children are not even going to school, it’s really depresing”

As the rain buckets down on Harare, most parents are concerned about the well-being of their school-going children in the wet weather conditions prevailing in the capital.

Having predicted a wet start to 2023, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) also warned Zimbabweans to stay indoors during thunderstorms.

Naturally, parents whose children use public transport to and from school, are constantly anxious amid heavy rainfall which ushered in the new year.

But for some Bulawayo Chiefs players, the concern is not the safety of school-going children, it’s the inability to send them to school in the first place.

Amakhosi players, who were last paid by the financially-troubled Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side in June last year, have been subjected to abject deprivation —a shocking reality for professional footballers.

“We are struggling to make ends meet. Can you imagine, my kids are not even going to school because I have no money to pay for their tuition fees,” said one Chiefs player who asked not to be named fearing victimization.

“The Bulawayo Chiefs leadership is so heartless and I don’t even know what we did to deserve such treatment,” added the player.

The Twitter Kings, just like many top-flight clubs in Zimbabwe, are struggling financially but the aggrieved player said the Lovemore Sibanda-led executive has added greed to its growing list of weaknesses.

“Look, we totally understand that the club has no money, which is normal In an economy like ours but before we played the Chibuku Super Cup final against Herentals, we agreed that as players, we would share 70% of the prize money,” he said.

“We won the game, the sponsors (Delta Beverages) paid the money, but we got nothing. The club leadership paid us nothing yet they were aware we were last paid us in June.”

Another Chiefs player who also spoke on condition of anonymity,  accused the club of being insensitive to the plight of its players.

“It hasn’t been easy. You get to a point where people ask you how you have been surviving for 7 months without a salary,” said the player.

“My children were also not going to school when schools opened, until my mother chipped in. We have been struggling, but we thought the Chibuku (prize) money would at least ensure a normal back to school for our children.”

But when and how did the problem start? 

“Difficulties started when we received our salaries for May, on the 10th of June. Then for June we got them (salaries) on the 15th of July and  that’s when we saw things were bad, it even got worse,” recalled the player.

“From then, after we went on strike before the game against Chicken Inn, nothing was paid. We were told the following month that the club would have paid us all our outstanding salaries and sign on fees by November 20, but nothing came.

“There was also a time when the club left out Kelvin Madzongwe, Perfect Chikwende and Elvis Moyo from the squad, claiming that trio influenced the rest of the players but the truth is, they were just asking, respectfuly, for what belongs to them.

Devide and rule

The Bulawayo Chiefs hierarchy applied the devide and rule tactic during the last seven months, by paying players deemed as “the most loyal” behind everyone else’s back.

Malvin Mkolo, Farau Matare, David Bizabani, Mtokhozisi Msebe and Lucky Ndlela, are some of the “loyal” players being paid privately.


Efforts to get a comment from Chiefs spokesperson Thulani ‘Javas’ Sibanda were fruitless as he did not respond.

Footballers of Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) has been approached but the Chiefs players say they are losing hope that players representative body will help them.

“We engaged FUZ, who communicated with the club and they (the club) said they would make a payment plan and pay us USD100 per month,” said the player.

“We were shocked by the amount of money offered but sadly, they never paid even the little they offered,  up to now. When we now send messages to the FUZ officials, they ignore us.”

FUZ Secretary-General Thomas Sweswe revealed that the players representative body is working hand in glove with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to solve the crisis.

“We are working with the PSL, we are in talks with them so that from the league prize money,  the players also get something,” Sweswe said.

“As for the Chibuku Super Cup money, we don’t know what the owner did with that money, what we know is there was an agreement between the club’s executive and the players that the latter would get 70%.

Sweswe said some Chiefs players have even approached FUZ seeking guidance on how they can terminate their contract with the club.

“There are players who have approached us with the aim of terminating their contracts and we have advised them accordingly because those contracts have been defaulted,” explained the former Kaizer Chiefs stalwart.

“They feel they have been neglected by Bulawayo Chiefs, imagine Christmas being family time and you have nothing to offer the family.

“When you terminate your contract, in terms of the law, you terminate with just cause —in this case, not being paid for the work you are contracted to do, having done it.

“We will help the players get their money, those who want to leave the club and those who wish to remain there,” added Sweswe.





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