Citizens Football Club players are up in arms with management after their April salaries were delayed, an allegation that the club co-owner, George Ochurub, has denied.
Five players who spoke to the Windhoek Observer this week all said they have not been paid their April salaries, while expressing fear that their May salaries might also be delayed.
“Management has been giving us lots of excuses on our salaries. There is one player that was told that he will not be paid because he was too vocal regarding the matter. Our salaries have been delayed on several occasions, which is frustrating because most of us do not work and rely on football for a living,” one player, who did not want to be named for fear of victimization, said.
Another player labelled management at Citizens as liars after promising, but failed to settle the players’ April salaries.
“They told us that they were going to pay us, but until today, we have not received anything. Management is full of liars who never tell the truth,” the player said.
Striker Henry Somseb said he was prepared to go on record about the delayed salaries.
Somseb, who is likely to face a disciplinary hearing from the club, is being accused by club management of demanding a salary while he has not been playing or training.
The striker said the club refuses to give players written contracts, preferring verbal agreements instead.
He said players get paid N$850 as a basic salary, N$50 for training and a N$500 bonus money for winning matches.
“It was the same story in the 2014/15 season when there was a month that I was not paid my salary. As we speak, I am going to visit the Namibia Football Players Union (Nafpu) secretary general, Olsen Kahiriri, to brief him about the matter,” Somseb said.
“In the 2014/15 season, I signed a contract worth N$4,000 per month, but they like deducting from my salary for no reason when they know I have been out injured while playing against Rundu Chiefs. I really scarified myself to play for Citizens.”
Ochurub, however, denied the allegations when contacted by the Windhoek Observer.
“Please bring forth those that are saying they are not paid. Everyone was paid for April. The only player that was not paid is Somseb because how can we pay him if he has not been training. Somseb is just using the other players. There is nothing like that (players not being paid),” Ochorub said.
Namibia Premier League (NPL) chief administrator, Tovey //Hoebeb, said the league cannot intervene when it comes to salary disputes.
“It is very difficult because it is an agreement between a player and the club. Why is it that players only know the NPL when they are facing difficulties?
“This is why we want to introduce club licensing to get away with this type of thing. We want to make sure that clubs do not go into a new season in debt. It is very sad though,” //Hoebeb said.
Kahiriri confirmed having received complaints from some of the players at Citizens.
“Yes, some players lodged a complaint last week and we are still waiting for the rest of the players to do so. Some did not come yet because of work,” he said.
“We have realised that the reason why these clubs are doing this is because the NPL chairperson (Patrick Kauta) is also chairman of a club (African Stars). The sponsors need to intervene and ask why some players are not paid by their clubs.”
All 16 clubs in the NPL receive a monthly grant of N$65,000 each from sponsors of the league.
The grants are meant for players’ salaries, transport, food and accommodation as most clubs do not have other means of income.