By Grace Chingoma
HARARE- While other football clubs are holding year-end prize-giving ceremonies with outstanding players pocketing extra cash, it is a different tale for CAPS United players. On Friday the players besieged the offices of their directors in protest over outstanding bonuses.
The Green Machine’s rivals, Dynamos, will be hosting their end-of-season awards ceremony on Wednesday while FC Platinum on Saturday honoured the players who stood head and shoulders above the rest. But at CAPS United things are looking a bit ugly after an end-of-season fallout between the club’s two owners.
On Friday 20 players went to the office of club president Twine Phiri in Southerton demanding their November winning bonuses ahead of the festive season. After failing to get their grievances addressed, as the PSL boss was out of office, the players took their protest to club vice-president Farai Jere’s offices in Eastlea.
The players – led by senior players such as captain Nyasha Mukumbi, Edmore Sibanda and Evans Gwekwerere – were then addressed by Jere. Goalkeeper Sibanda said the sticking point was bonuses, which are still owed, and not salaries.
“Our concern is on the bonuses. It is the festive season and we cannot cope with the salary alone. We have families and a lot do this holiday,” said Sibanda. Jere told the players that by Christmas time everyone would have received what they are owed.
“We really feel sorry for you guys. It was just a tight situation but everything will be okay. We will sort out the issues. Your salaries have been deposited into your accounts, you can go and access them now while we sort out the bonuses for the two remaining matches.
“This is not always the case with CAPS United and this is just a phase and next season we hope we will have a good season. By next week all this should be sorted and we will start to prepare for the new season.
“We want to do well next season and you should go and enjoy the holidays and by mid January we should start off-season preparations,” said Jere. Mukumbi said the players would wait to see if Jere remains committed to his word.
It appears CAPS United are reeling from the announcement by Jere that he would be leaving the club at the end of this season. Jere has a 25 percent stake in CAPS United and has been trying to push for a 50 percent stake and an equal partnership with Phiri.
The issue is now being handled by the lawyers of the two directors but, although agreements have been prepared, the documents are yet to be signed. The two parties were scheduled to sign on Friday last week but that did not materialise and, with Phiri out of the country last weekend, the impasse dragged on.
Jere refused to comment about the ownership of the club and said he was dealing with the issue of salaries and bonuses because he made a commitment when he joined CAPS United three years ago to serve the club in those areas.
While a hardline section of the club’s fans want Jere out of the club, accusing him of being a Dynamos fan, the players seem united in their faith in their vice-president and wants him to stay.
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