Dynamos striker, Christian Epoupa Ntouba could be in trouble with his paymasters after it was discovered yesterday that the Cameroonian had been paid all his dues and has been absent from work illegally.
BY HENRY MHARA
It has emerged that NetOne, who are Dynamos’s principal sponsor, had paid in full the money that Ntouba is claiming to be owed by the club.
The mobile network provider announced this at a Press conference yesterday that they had paid Ntouba over $18 000 to cover his signing-on fees and outstanding allowances from last season.
The striker has missed the team’s opening five matches of the season, claiming that he is owed $16 000 by the club and will only play when the money is paid in full.
Dynamos chairman, Keni Mubaiwa said they will sanction Ntouba for absenting himself from work without official leave.
“We don’t owe him (Ntouba) anything. The dues that he was claiming have been paid. Since January, Epoupa has been receiving his salary and the signing-on fees was also transferred to his OneMoney account directly by NetOne and not Dynamos. But surprisingly, Epoupa and his manager have been claiming that we owe him $16 000, which is not true,” Mubaiwa, speaking at the Press conference, said.
“He is our employee and if he doesn’t come (to work), we will take action. He can’t be absent without leave. This Press conference has cleared everything and everyone now knows what is happening,” he said.
Ntouba’s manager, Gilbert Sengwe, who has been blocking the player from playing, declined to comment.
He had been invited to the presser, together with the player, but they both did not turn up.
It has emerged that Ntouba has signed a pre-contract with another local league club, believed to be one of the platinum miners teams.
NetOne said it had been forced to call the Press conference and clarify the issue because they felt the bad publicity that the saga was generating, was tarnishing their image.
“In the recent past, the media has been awash with stories surrounding the strained relationship between Dynamos and Christian Ntouba, and we have read with anguish the various versions of the story. While this matter is purely what we would like to believe is a misunderstanding between Dynamos and Epoupa, the prolonged standoff between the two parties has become a cause for concern for our brand.
“To this end, we went over and above our contractual obligations and called for an all stakeholders’ meeting with Dynamos and Epoupa’s manager on Friday evening, to seek clarity on the matter with a view of assisting both parties to find an amicable resolution that is mutually beneficial for all brands,” NetOne chief executive officer, Lazarus Muchenje said.
NetOne signed a $1 million sponsorship deal with the country’s three biggest clubs – Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United – at the start of the season, which each club receiving $350 000 towards players’ salaries and other related expenses for the season.
The salaries and signing-on fees are processed directly into the players’ OneMoney accounts, a NetOne platform.
“As NetOne, this partnership is very critical, we anticipate the big three clubs to play their respective roles in promoting and protecting our brand in a manner that is endearing to their multitude of supporters. We wish to put on record and categorically state that NetOne is not in any financial breach in terms of its sponsorship agreement with Dynamos and has processed all Epoupa’s allowances and signing-on fees, as per the schedule submitted to NetOne by Dynamos. To date, Dynamos have paid $18 125 00 to Epoupa this year,” Muchenje said.