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Highlanders face player exodus again

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
Facing uncertain future: Mahalapye Railways Highlanders are facing the usual transfer blues once again with several key players set to leave
PALAPYE: Mahalapye Railways Highlanders are experiencing the usual transfer blues as players are reported to be jumping off the club train to seek greener pastures elsewhere across the country.

The transfer window recently opened, and most Highlanders players were reportedly out and about training with other clubs.

Highlanders general manager, Earnest Oabile said they returned to their quarters this week for medicals ahead of resuming fieldwork next week.

Most of the first team contingent had not reported back. Some players are reportedly training with rookies Sua Flamingoes, Morupule Wanderers and others with Masitaoka.

Oabile played down rumours that the club was crumbling. He said it was a normal occurrence that players would seek fresh challenges and greener pastures during a transfer window.

He admitted they were not exempted by financial troubles during the pandemic period and had not been able to fulfil some obligations as far as payments of players were concerned.

“Commonly, some players would still be annoyed because of the financial situation we had, but it happened across all the clubs.

As far as we are concerned our players had not returned because they were stranded with transportation fares, but we are working on it,” he said.

Oabile admitted some key players, about four, had made requests to be allowed to move for greener pastures. As a team without financial muscle, he said they had not many options but to allow such players to make the moves.

“As much as we want to keep our best players we cannot refuse to allow them to advance their career elsewhere whey they also get better payments when we cannot also meet their demands.”

The general manager revealed that they had identified eight players to

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beef the squad. He said the technical team was busy scouting players during the recent promotional playoffs.

Others had previously worked with the coach.

A source close to the club has revealed the situation at Highlanders was dire. The team was supposed to return this week, but only the coaches came back. Players are said to be owed eight months dues.

The source said, when the players decried wages to management during the past months on the club WhatsApp platform, management was not responsive. Now it was vice-versa, and players were returning the favour. Half of the players are said to have been out of contract since May and contracts were not renewed, the other half with contracts are said to be terminating for the club’s failure to honour agreements.

“The club does not even appreciate they owe players. In their context, they said they had frozen the contracts, therefore, don’t owe the players.

Players are handing in termination of contracts. When they ask for release letters they are sent from pillar to post,” the source said.

According to the source, it appeared the club was experiencing a lack of funding from the sponsor, and the management was failing to source funds elsewhere.

“The situation at the club is not normal. In the recent past, the club was releasing players and beefing up.

The club had built an interesting squad that played good football and had the potential to challenge for a top position. Now the team is crumbling,” the source said.



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