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Zimbabwe Cricketers Back in Camp After Payments

Sri Lankan bowler Nuwan Kulasekara, center, runs along with Zimbabwe's batsmen Brendan Taylor, left, and Regis Chakabva during the Cricket World Cup match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, Thursday, March 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Eranga J
The Zimbabwe national cricket team on Monday started preparations for the Twenty 20 World Cup after two months of protest.

Players had gone for four months without payments and were boycotting training and tournaments. But Zimbabwe Cricket has now paid the players resulting in the players going back into camp.

Assistant coach Steve Mangongo told the media Monday that all the 30 players called into camp have reported for training after their salaries reflected in their bank accounts.

The players had made it clear that they would not return to duty unless they were paid their outstanding payments.

Domestic franchise cricket has also failed to take off in the country as a result of money problems. Zimbabwe Cricket was also expected to address the financial needs of the players before they could take to the pitch.

Mangongo is open enough saying the strike has paralyzed the national team's preparations for the qualifiers of the Twenty 20 World Cup but adds he’s happy that the players are back in action.

Zimbabwean team is billed to play Ireland and the Netherlands in the run-up to the World Cup. The qualifiers are being held in Bangladesh.

Zimbabwe, which had automatic entry to World Cup finals, has been reduced to qualifiers due to their continued slide in international cricket.

Zimbabwe Cricket, which has debts of over $18 million, received a $3 million grant from the International Cricket Council to avert the disaster of the national team failing to meet their international obligations.

But Zimbabwe Cricket are not alone in sport's financial problems. Over the weekend, popular Harare football team, Dynamos, travelled to Botswana by road for a Champions League showdown because they did not have money for air travel.
Dynamos went on to hold Mochudi Centre Chiefs to a one-all draw to sail through to the next stage of Africa's richest club football competition.

The Zimbabweans will now meet AS Vita of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who eliminated Kano Pillars of Nigeria.