CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League champions Caps United have this week been rocked by a player strike over winning bonuses stretching from last season.
BY SPORTS REPORTER
Having refused to train all week, the players returned for training yesterday after promises that their dues would be settled as the club inched closer to clinching a sponsorship deal which could be announced today.
The Green Machine open their campaign with an away match against league returnees Shabanie Mine, but the trip has been overshadowed by the player strike that has rocked the camp for the past few days.
The players boycotted training since Thursday last week, and while they agreed to play the ZNA Charities Shield final against Highlanders at the weekend, they resumed the sit-in at the start of the week, as they pressed for outstanding salaries and bonuses.
The players are owed winning bonuses from last season as well as Caf Champions League qualification bonuses.
Player sources who spoke to NewsDaySport yesterday said they were yet to be paid winning bonuses for the last two matches of the previous season against Ngezi Platinum and Chapungu.
The Lloyd Chitembwe-coached side won the two matches 1-nil as they cruised to the league title.
“We are owed $800 each as winning bonuses for the last two matches of the season. We resolved not to train until that has been resolved,” a player, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said.
The club management has imposed a media gag on the players, who they have threatened with expulsion for any breach.
Another source also said they were owed $1 000 each as Caf Champions League qualification bonuses.
Caps United played Lioli FC of Lesotho in the first round, progressing on a 2-1 aggregate, before beating Democratic Republic of Congo champions TP Mazembe to qualify for the competition’s group stages.
They were promised $500 each for progressing past each stage and 30% of the $550 000 the team gets for reaching the Caf Champions League last 16.
However, it appears the club has not fulfilled their part of the bargain.
“They promised to give us $500 for each stage we pass, so they owe us $1 000 for the games against Lioli and TP Mazembe. We are not talking about the 30% of the $550 000 because we know that will come later in the year. We decided to embark on a sit-in so that the management could come and address us,” another player said.
Normalcy returned to the club yesterday when the players were given verbal promises that they would receive their money soon.
The players were addressed by club vice-president Nhamo Tutisani and chief executive Cuthbert Chitima at their training base at the National Sports Stadium, who, sources said, assured the players that their salaries and bonuses would be settled.
Reports yesterday suggested that the club would be getting new sponsorship which, sources said, would be unveiled today.
Efforts to get a comment from Chitima were fruitless.