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Pay Dispute Resolved, Zimbabwe's Young Footballers Headed Home

Zimbabwe’s Under-20 Young Warriors were due home Wednesday after resolution of a dispute in which the young players refused to board their plane home from South Africa Tuesday saying they had not received payments for participation.

The team placed third in the 15-team Cosafa Under-20 Championships concluded in Mafikeng on Monday - South Africa’s Amajita claimed the gold.

But players balked at boarding the plane home, claiming they had not received monies due from the Zimbabwe Football Association. ZIFA delegation head Kenny Ndebele said he had negotiated with ZIFA to pay the players on their arrival in Harare on Wednesday, though in local currency due to foreign exchange regulations.

Former Warriors Captain Peter Ndlovu, now a player with Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, donated 5,000 rand to the team and the sponsors of the tournament are believed to have paid the players 9,000 rand for their third-place showing.

Ndebele said reports that players were owed some US$2,060 were inaccurate. But he said they would receive the equivalent of US$480 on their arrival.

Former Warriors player Alois Bunjira, now in South Africa, said he was dismayed by ZIFA's non-payment of bonuses as he thought such problems were ended.

Bunjira urged ZIFA to put its house in order or risk alienating the players who will form the country's national team for the 2008 Africa Nations Cup and other events.

Reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked ZIFA delegation about the dispute between the association and the young players.

More reports from VOA's Studio Seven For Zimbabwe...