CAPS United management is back in familiar territory, having to appease agitated if not angry players over delays in the payment of their April salaries.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Green Machine went through a major overhaul after players that were deemed bad apples from last season were denied new contracts following their spectacular collapse at the end of the season where they surrendered the league title to FC Platinum and even became a laughing stock after finishing third, climbing down from the top.
Players revolted over non-payment of their benefits and skipped training at crucial periods during a promising season that ended in a whimper. The year started with a lot of promise for Caps after the overhaul and the pledge by management to refresh things and give the team a more professional approach. Yet even before a ball has been kicked mainly due to delays caused by the effects of COVID-19, some players are getting worried over their remuneration.
Several players, who spoke to NewsDay Sport yesterday, said they were worried about their welfare.
The players usually get their salaries right at the end of every month but the Harare giants are being choked by the coronavirus pandemic which has paralysed the sporting industry and other sectors of the economy across the globe.
Under the agreement with their principal sponsors — NetOne, Caps United management pays a fraction of the players’ salaries with the sponsors footing the remainder of the bill.
However, players are yet to receive payment from either part and complained that they are in a dire situation.
“The situation is bad. We are struggling and finding it difficult to survive especially in an environment where we have these restrictions because we have not been paid April salaries up to now. We have been hoping to get our salaries at least in the first week of May but now we are already going into the third week. We don’t know when we will get paid,” said one of the players who requested anonymity.
Another player said what was compounding their situation was that they had no other means of income except their salaries.
“Our situation is difficult because of the lockdown. We have no other means to sustain our families. We are just hoping things will work out and we get paid.”
Bulawayo giants Highlanders, one of the teams sponsored by NetOne, are reported to be also facing financial challenges due to the lockdown. Bosso have already lost coach Mark Harrison who cut short his two-year contract barely six months into it due to financial challenges at the club.
Dynamos have revealed they might be forced to cut salaries of staff and players should the situation continue in the next few months.
The delay to the start of the season has already strained the budgets of most clubs as they had poured thousands of dollars into preparations for the season.
Zifa has since applied for a grant from Fifa to minimise the financial impact of the lockdown.
The supreme football-controlling body in the country has tentatively set August or September as the start of the league season.