By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s most successful footballer, Peter Ndlovu is suing his former employer Twalumba Holdings for US$55 000 in unpaid signing on fees.
Ndlovu claims that Twalumba Holdings, the owners of Highfield United that he played for before being loaned to Black Mambas Football Club, should have paid him the amount or a house of the same value immediately after signing or within the month of signing.
In the matter which was brought before Justice Mary Zimba-Dube for hearing yesterday, Twalumba Holdings argues that Ndlovu did not sign with them as a football player but he signed a partnership in which he agreed to develop football in the country.
Ndlovu, who is being represented by Mr Harrison Nkomo, testified that from his experience when he signed for Coventry City and Birmingham City in England, and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, signing on fees were paid shortly after appending his signature.
“Soon after you sign that paper you are owed. At Twalumba I let it go like that because we are a family. We all come from Binga and we had more business to do so I trusted they would pay me,” he said.
The former Warriors captain testified while seated because he was still using crutches as a result of injuries sustained in an accident which claimed his brother Adam last year.
He said he signed a one-year contract with Twalumba at the beginning of 2011.
The contract, he said, was supposed to end in December 31 of the same year.
He said he played some games for Highfield United before he was loaned to Black Mambas where he played 15 or 20 games before his contract was terminated in July 2011.
Ndlovu said during his tenure at Black Mambas, Twalumba Holdings continued to pay his salary until his contract was terminated.
Mr Nkomo, who was leading evidence from Ndlovu, produced a contract which his client entered into with Twalumba and a letter of termination of his contract as exhibits.
Mr Nkomo suggested to Ndlovu that Twalumba Holdings was claiming that he did not turn out for Highfield United and that his play time had nothing to do with Twalumba.
Ndlovu responded saying: “As long as I trained or played friendly games for Highfield United it means I played for them and they loaned me to Black Mambas.”
He also denied claims that he did not report for duty as alleged by Twalumba. He said twice he failed to report for duty and his employers were aware of his absence on the two occasions.
Ndlovu said he had nothing against Twalumba but he just wanted to be paid his money.
Under cross-examination by Twalumba’s lawyer Mr Pardon Makuwaza, Ndlovu said he had a bigger partnership with Twalumba hence he kept silent on the matter.
He claimed that some players he signed with were also still owed signing on fees.
Mr Makuwaza put it to him that he signed a contract with Twalumba to develop football in Zimbabwe.
“If it was a partnership I wouldn’t have played. Why would I play, I had a right to direct football,” said Ndlovu in his response.
Mr Makuwaza also suggested to Ndlovu that he was not paid a salary but an allowance.
Asked why he had not claimed for a house Ndlovu said he had chosen money because it was the same as a house of similar value.