Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba Epoupa’s chances of kicking off his 2018 season during the Easter programme blossomed yesterday after DeMbare paid outstanding dues that had accumulated over the course of last season.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The impasse had not been resolved to finality by last night, however, as the player demanded that he be paid in US dollars or at least to get an upward adjustment since he needs to buy foreign currency to send back home to his family in Cameroon.
The player was locked in a meeting with part of the Dynamos leadership negotiating his demand, but chances of him returning to action were at their brightest yet.
Epoupa has been at loggerheads with his employers over non-payment of his outstanding signing-on fees and allowances amounting to $16 000.
The Dynamos leadership met with the player and his manager Gilbert Sengwe yesterday, with reports suggesting the club hierarchy had finally offered to pay the player so that he could play a part, as the club seeks to mount a challenge on the championship.
“They (Dynamos) have offered something and we discussed it with the player first. Right now, we are now in the meeting with Dynamos officials. At least now we are talking,” Sengwe said at the time of going to print last night.
On the other hand, Dynamos claimed last night that the money Epoupa was being owed had been deposited into his account.
“What I know is that whatever was outstanding has been deposited into the players’ account. However, he wants the money to be paid in US dollars and it is something that the club secretary [Webster Marechera] has been negotiating with him and his manager,” club president Keni Mubaiwa said.
Despite the sticking point, the developments present a positive shift in the impasse that has threatened the Dynamos season.
The progress made yesterday means that the player is likely to finally start playing for the team as they face Ngezi Platinum Stars tomorrow and then Highlanders on Monday.
Although he has been training with the team, he missed the Glamour Boys’ opening two matches of the campaign against Chicken Inn and Shabanie Mine in protest over his outstanding dues.
The Harare giants lost the opening match to Chicken Inn 1-0 before surrendering the lead in a dramatic 3-3 draw against Shabanie Mine at Rufaro.
That result was met with disapproval from the fans, who barricaded the main entrance into the stadium, denouncing the club hierarchy and technical team.
The Dynamos team bus had to be escorted out of the stadium by the police
And Ntouba, who did not feature in the match, was showered with a few notes and coins afterwards, something that could have galvanised the club hierarchy into action.
Without his power and influence, the Glamour Boys have been vulnerable and it will be a big boost, as they prepare for the match against Ngezi Platinum.
DeMbare still have sad memories of their last visit to the Baobab, where they lost 2-0, a match which observers believe denied them the championship last term, having won 3-2 in the reverse fixture at Rufaro.
Ngezi Platinum have virtually turned Baobab into a fortress, and are yet to lose a match there since Tonderai Ndiraya took over.
Dynamos also have a tough home tie against Bulawayo giants Highlanders on Easter Monday.
Bosso have had a perfect start to the campaign, registering identical 2-0 wins against Triangle and Herentals in their last two matches and the Harare giants need to be at their best if they are to collect maximum points.