A big storm is brewing in the financially-beleaguered Lengthens camp, with players threatening not to fulfil the team’s four remaining matches starting with Monomotapa today.
There was confusion at the team’s offices along Kaguvi Street yesterday with coach Jostein Mathuthu not even sure if they are going to fulfil their match pencilled for Rufaro Stadium today.
“We have some serious problems, we have tried to cover up for the directors but we have reached a stage where we can only say enough is enough,” said Mathuthu yesterday.
Mathuthu said his main worry was that the team’s directors were not showing enough commitment for the upkeep of the team.
“The problem is not financial stability. Every team is struggling at the moment and we are well aware of that, but there is no commitment by the owners. I have been personally and with some other interested parties helping these boys but we have reached a point where as an individual you cannot stretch yourself anymore,” said Mathuthu.
“The directors are not committed at all, you phone them and they don’t even pick up the phone or they will give you promises which they will not fulfil,” added Mathuthu.
Players, who had finished their training at around 11am, were still milling around at the club’s offices at around 1pm as they were waiting for transport money to go back home.
“It’s an administrative disaster, I don’t know what to say. Like I said it’s not a financial problem but it’s an ownership problem, we don’t know who is who at the club and who does what,” said Mathuthu.
When Mathuthu phoned one of the directors John Chikochi, in the presence of this reporter asking for a way forward and informing him that the team was threatening not to fulfil the remaining fixtures, this was his response.
“If the players want the team to be relegated it’s up to them, they should do what they think is good for them,” said Chikochi.
Mathuthu said such a response from one of the team’s directors was not only regrettable but a shame and added that his team’s survival chances this season would depend on the way the directors manage the crisis besetting the team.
Lengthens are fifth from the bottom with 25 points, the same number of points with Black Mambas who are fourth from bottom, the cut-off point for teams that will ply their football in the unfashionable second tier league. Team captain Steven Matsangaise echoed his coach’s sentiments saying the players had been stretched to the limit.
“We are expected to do miracles without any cent, we have tried our best but we can’t do it anymore,” said the team captain.
“I can’t even remember the last time we got paid, and I’m not sure if we are going to fulfil the remaining fixtures. We are tired of all this,” added Matsangaise.
Other players who were interviewed yesterday said the team was “treating them like animals.”
“They don’t treat us as human beings but as animals.
We are tired of talking to them because they always give us empty promises,” said one player who refused to be identified. “Like now we have been standing here for more than two hours for just a dollar to go home and come back for the match tomorrow, do you think that’s human?” asked another player.
The players revealed that the last time they got paid by the team was $100 they were given each after their game against Dynamos in October.