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Sinky Mnisi warns of football time bomb

Sinky Mnisi of Highlands Park wants the Absa Premiership to resume as soon as possible. / Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
Sinky Mnisi of Highlands Park wants the Absa Premiership to resume as soon as possible. / Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Highlands Park co-director Sinky Mnisi feels professional football will collapse if it is not restarted soon.

Mnisi has revealed that they are in a dire financial position despite having sponsors.

The Lions of the North's challenge is that sponsors Hatfield VW and Jonsson Workwear are not operating during the lockdown and have not given them any money.

Mnisi said it will be difficult for the club going forward as the R2.5m monthly grant from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) is not enough to pay salaries of players and staff.

"As much as I understand that people are saying the team should pay salaries, it is a bit difficult," Mnisi told Sowetan.

"Because our sponsors' operations are closed at the moment, we are also feeling the pinch that other teams are feeling. There is no money coming in. There is a lot of money going out.

"We still have to look after the players' needs and all that. Surely, sooner or later, there will be more problems."

Premiership sides AmaZulu and Cape Town City announced last week that their players will take pay cuts, while GladAfrica Championship teams Cape Umoya and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivha-ndila also made similar moves.

According to sources at Highlands Park, the club didn't pay the full salaries of players and members of the technical team this month, but Mnisi rubbished that claim.

"We've paid the players for April based on the grants and, of course, we also have to try and do something for our staff using the UIF [Unemployment Insurance Fund] Covid-19 Relief Fund from government," Mnisi continued.

"It's tough for everybody, and my own opinion, not Highlands', is that I would have loved, where possible, to find ways and means to play the league and finish it as quickly as possible because I don't see us reaching level 1 [of the lockdown] this year."

Asked if he was not considering the fact that lives are at stake if football returns during this world-wide coronavirus pandemic, Mnisi said all precautions should be taken and added that matches should take place behind closed doors.

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