A week after pulling off the upset of the season in the African Champions League, players of Caps United are fighting to get paid.
The squad of the Zimbabwe champions, fresh from eliminating five-time champion TP Mazembe, refused to train yesterday (Thursday March 23) because the club owes salary and bonus payments dating back months.
Now, after qualifying for the Champions League group stage and the club set to receive a $550,000 starting fee from Africa’s governing body CAF, players expect their outstanding wages.
“We didn’t even inform the club that we would not show up for training, because they know we want our money,” one player said on condition of anonymity. “What else can we do?”
Last season Caps United won the Premier League title, even though players regularly boycotted training because they were owed money.
“It is about time that the club fulfills its part of the bargain,” said Desmond Maringwa, President of player union FUZ. “The players have shown a real good working ethic, now the club must meet its promises..”
Despite the training strike, Caps United will play tomorrow's final of the Charities Shield, an invitational tournament organized to raise awareness for the army’s charity work for needy people in Zimbabwe.
According to FIFPro’s 2016 Global Employment Report, 37 percent of players in Zimbabwe experienced non-payment issues. The situation could even be worse, said Maringwa. “I think it is about 50-50.”
“Sometimes our clubs make too many promises to get a player to sign with them. They then expect to find a sponsor later during the season, but if that does not happen, it’s the player who suffers the consequences.”
“Our clubs must stop lying and tell our players exactly how much money they really have.”
“We need our football to be honest.”
Only after Caps United had received a $100,000 championship bonus for winning last season’s Premier League did the club pay players part of their overdue salaries.
The forthcoming season, which starts in two weeks, the Zimbabwe football association is introducing a licensing system for the league. Clubs will only receive a license if they don’t have outstanding debts to players.
Maringwa hopes it solves the non-payment problem. “Our players are patient and they will always wait for a while, but in the end they must be paid what they have been promised.”
- Published: 24 March 2017