August 24 was a dark day for the How Mine family after the former 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title contenders were hammered by Dynamos in a 6-0 massacre at home, for that matter.
insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI
While the How Mine family are counting the cost of that embarrassing result, DeMbare are thanking their lucky stars for the player revolt at the gold miners as they benefitted, not only from the three points, but also from the goals which have contributed immensely to their goals tally.
The blow that sent How Mine crashing boomeranged to hit Ngezi Platinum Stars, Chicken Inn and FC Platinum as the six goals saw Dynamos overtake FC Platinum on the PSL league table, and also reduced the gap between them, the GameCocks and Madamburo.
That is not all. The six goals Dynamos plundered past a makeshift How Mine have seen the 1998 CAF Champions League finalists become the second top-scorers in the league with 35 goals — four behind FC Platinum.
Thanks also to the How Mine factor, DeMbare now have the highest goal difference in the Premier Soccer League assembly, with 19 goals compared to FC Platinum’s 16.
However, what is happening at How Mine is symptomatic of the state of Zimbabwean football. Day in and day out, players are boycotting training and going on strike in response to non-payment of salaries and winning bonuses.
This problem is not confined to clubs alone, but also to the national team. On two occasions, the Warriors staged a sit-in before their departure for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, demanding that they be paid their outstanding dues, the latest episode coming in 2017 on their way to Gabon.
In the case of How Mine, some might argue that the players who were absent against Dynamos should have reported for duty to play the game last Thursday, while their grievances were being looked into.
The question is for how long are they supposed to wait?
These players have not been paid for three months, and during that period, they were patient, hoping that their problem would be resolved. At one time, How Mine were second on the 18-team Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table, despite the fact that the players were owed a lot of money.
That should be enough evidence to prove their commitment to their club’s cause, but after waiting for more than enough, they had no option but to exploit other avenues. They saw boycotting a game against the most popular football team in the country as an opportunity to make their demands loud and clear.
Who can blame them? How can one enter the field of play and perform to the fullest when his stomach is empty, his children are being denied an education for non-payment of school fees and there is no food on the table for the family?
What should be made loud and clear is that football is employment and a player does not need to demand his payment. It should be paid out according to the signed contract and the agreed terms of employment.
When they got themselves involved in football, How Mine and many other sponsors and individual financiers, knew exactly what was required and committed themselves to bankrolling their football teams.
So what has gone wrong now?
Clubs should just pay their players if they are to avoid embarrassment, or if they are to get the best out of their performances. That is simple.
Youth Games should have been shelved
Although those at the Sport and Recreation Commission might not want to admit it, the 2017 Zimbabwe Youth Games were probably the most disorganised and the worst since 1980 when Zimbabwe was admitted to international sport.
Athletes complained of sub-standard accommodation, transport problems and above all, poor food that sent some of them out of the competition after suffering diarrhoea.
The main objective of the Youth Games is to identify the most talented youngsters and give them the opportunity to represent the country at international level.
However, there is no way that an athlete can showcase that talent or perform to the fullest when he or she is being fed the same meal of sugarbeans and fresh milk during breakfast, lunch and supper.
The performances from the week-long show were not the best.
The truth is that the Youth Games should have been shelved after it was realised there was no money to fund the sporting gathering.
Otherwise, this was just a waste of time.
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