By Eddie Chikamhi
CAPS United have slammed the habit by Premier Soccer League players to engage in unsanctioned social football matches, commonly known as money games.
Players have been spotted at various centres, across the country, engaging in the illegal matches to supplement their meagre incomes.
However, CAPS United vice-president, Nhamo Tutisani, yesterday said the players were risking their careers for short term gains.
“It’s difficult to police the players but we have been hearing a lot about this and we have done some follow-ups, especially where we hear that some of our players were involved,’’ said Tutisani.
“But, there are huge risks involved and the players, as professionals, should weigh the risks associated with this kind of behaviour.
“Of course, the financial situation is hard on everybody but it’s suicidal for these boys.
“The biggest risk is getting injured while playing those games. It means you will take care of your own treatment.
“Neither the club, nor the medical aid sponsors Fidelity, will help you with your medical expenses.
“Secondly, no player, who is under a binding contract, is allowed to play any other football except representing the club and the national team.
“So, you risk losing your job over this.’’
The Green Machine boss said it was a criminal acitivity that had no place in society,
“Thirdly, it’s actually criminal to play money games in this environment of Covid-19,’’ he said.
“Government and ZIFA have said football should not be played because of Covid-19 and when these guys play it means they are breaking the law.
“PSL and ZIFA should step in and help police these boys.’’
However, he said before blaming the players, the league needed to look themselves in the mirror to see if they were professional enough.
“Before we blame the players, we also have to look at how the league is run,’’ he said.
“As much as we would want to portray our league as professional, are we really professional enough or we are just doing everything in an amateurish way?
“We need to relook our business model.”
A player that spoke to the Herald yesterday said they were struggling to make ends meet.
He said the businesspeople, including the owners of one top Harare car dealer, often visit the football venues in Harare and place bets on behalf of the players, who will then share the proceeds after winning the match.
On a good say, a player would take home US$20 to US$30, which is almost equivalent to their monthly salaries which they get in local currency.
“The most important thing is survival. If you look at the salaries that players are getting at their clubs, it’s peanuts and that is why many players would prefer those money games,’’ he said.
“On a good day you can go home with US$20 or US$30, which is way better than the salaries some of us are getting for the whole month.
“Even if you are penalised, and fined a percentage of your salary, you will not feel the pinch because we are getting more from the money games.” The Herald