Harare giants, Dynamos, could be enjoying their honeymoon at the top of the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League log standings but if multiple reports of unpaid winning bonuses are anything to go by, one can be forgiven for remarking that there is, of course, a cold war at the country’s most successful club.
Perched at the summit of the log, at 30 points- two clear of second-placed Chicken Inn after 14 rounds of matches- Dembare make the long trip to Bulawayo this weekend for the Battle of Zimbabwe clash against old enemies, Highlanders.
And, as the Super Sunday clash fast approaches, reports from Harare indicate that Dynamos players are a disgruntled lot as they have not been given the winning bonuses from the team’s nine victories and three draws in the league so far.
Authoritative sources who spoke to the private-owned NewsDay say the club owes each player at least US$1000 in outstanding winning bonuses. According to the sources, the players’ respect for coach Tonderayi Ndiraya (below) has been the only thing that has kept the simmering tensions from blowing up.
The failure by Dynamos to pay their players winning bonuses could dent the club’s surge for the coveted ZPSL title this season.
“If it wasn’t for mudhara Ndiraya, it could have been chaotic here,” NewsDay Sport quoted one unnamed player as saying.
“(Ndiraya) has been keeping us calm, and asking us to focus on playing and winning matches. The entire squad has so much respect for him; otherwise what is prevailing at our neighbour (Caps United) could also be happening here. The truth is we are not happy and hopefully the management will sort out this issue as early as possible. How do they expect us to compete for the title against teams that are giving their players as much as US$400 winning bonuses?”
As per their bonus structure, Dynamos players are entitled to US$100 each for every win the team gets, and US$50 each for a draw.
When contacted for comment, Dynamos treasurer Moses Chikwariro referred questions to club chairperson Isiah Mupfurutsa whose mobile phone was unreachable.
However, impeccable sources privy to the turmoil in the Dembare dressing room say the team’s executive had promised to release the winning bonuses at the end of the season- an arrangement which a number of influential figures at the club are skeptical about.
Findings by NewsDay also revealed that the Dynamos executive attempted to withhold players’ bonuses from the government for the team’s participation in the Independence Cup final which they lost 1-0 to Highlanders.
For finishing as runners up, Dynamos received $4,5 million and reports say players had to demand for their share of the prize money.
The club’s policy entitles the players to 40% of the prize money that they get as a club.
The players eventually received $39 000 each from the club, on top of the $134 000 that they received from the organisers in participation fees and daily allowances.
Each Dynamos player also received US$610 from their principal sponsor Sakunda Holdings as an appearance fee in the Independence Cup final that was played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo.
“The management received money which was meant for our bonuses, but they chose to remain quiet. We only got to know about it when our peers at Highlanders told us that they, on top of their winning bonuses for winning the cup, had received a participation bonus from the government. We then enquired around and that is when we got to know that we are supposed to also get it,” another player said.
While the players have not received their winning bonuses, they have not encountered any problem in getting their salaries.
Sakunda Holdings, which poured a combined US$5,3 million in sponsorship deals with Dynamos and Highlanders over a period of three years, has been religiously paying players’ salaries.
“The sponsor committed to pay signing-on fees and salaries, and they have done so religiously. The club is supposed to pay winning bonuses and were hoping to raise the money from gate takings. The problem is that fans turnout at our matches has been poor. The management is now trying to negotiate with Sakunda so that they can also pay players’ winning bonuses. But the sponsor has already indicated that they will reward the players with a 13th cheque if the team wins the league,” a source said.
Sakunda Holdings has dangled a US$200 000 incentive for either Dynamos or Highlanders if they win the league. private media.