Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
THE Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) has expressed great disappointment with the Bulawayo Chiefs leadership who they believe have shown lack of professionalism and honesty after they have failed to pay their players owed dues as per agreement.
FUZ Secretary, Thomas Sweswe confirmed the club and players had agreed to share proceeds from the Chibuku Super Cup prize money but Chiefs have failed to meet their end of the deal.
“The club entered into an agreement with the players for the Chibuku Cup where they (players) are to be paid 70 percent of the prize money but since the club received the funds from the PSL they haven’t met their end of the bargain, it’s so disappointing and frustrating when we have clubs who portray an image which is contrary to what they do or behave towards players.
“We had written to PSL to at least withhold the prize money so that the players can get their dues but the league went on to pay the club in anticipation that they will honour the agreement made but still the club is giving us excuses that they have not received the money from the PSL for their participation in the tournament,” said Sweswe.
He said they have spent the last three months in conversation with the club trying to come up with solutions to the problem at hand.
“The problem that we have with Bulawayo Chiefs Football Club is lack of professionalism and honesty in as much as sometimes we understand the financial situation that clubs find themselves in.
“We have been having discussions with them for the past three months trying to mediate the impasse with the players and the club made a commitment to pay players their salaries and signing on fees and those dates have passed without any payment and without any form of communication,” said Sweswe.
“We also have two Ghanaian players whose permits expired but still have contracts expiring 31 December 2023 and have been given 7 and 14 days respectively for them to leave the country by the immigration and the club is silent on the matter.
“The players risk violating the laws and might end up being apprehended for staying illegally whilst the club is not making any effort to apply for their permits. Can you imagine the players are stuck in Bulawayo? They couldn’t even manage to go back to Ghana for the holidays. We ended up assisting them with foodstuffs,” Sweswe said.
Sweswe said they were generally disappointed with the situation at Chiefs.
“As FUZ, we are disappointed by the club considering that the players accepted to give the club time to sort out their payments and agreed on a written agreement.
“During the season, players were not training and threatened not to fulfil the games and we had to go meet the players and we guaranteed them that they have to play the games while we speak with PSL so as to find a better remedy for them to get their dues and that the league won’t be disrupted along the way.
“Yes there is an agreement between the players and club concerning the Chibuku tournament prize money and we even shared the document with the PSL, we hope the club will honour the agreement otherwise we will initiate legal proceedings against Bulawayo Chiefs FC.
“We urge the clubs to respect the agreed terms and reference within the contract of employment. We have also written to Zifa about the Ghanaian foreign nationals and we are awaiting their intervention as well,” said Sweswe.
A senior player who spoke to this publication said the situation at the club is dire.
“It’s really sad. Half the team have already asked the club to grant them clearance letters so they can leave the club. What makes the situation even more sad is that these guys are not communicating we have just been left in the dark.
Efforts to get a comment from Thulani “Javas” Sibanda, the club’s media officer did not yield any results as he did not respond to questions sent to him.
On Saturday, placards were left at the Chiefs shop situated at Tshaka Centre reportedly by disgruntled players who endured a miserable Christmas with nothing to show for winning the Chibuku Super Cup and finishing seventh the best ever position achieved by the club since its entry into the PSL in 2018. — @innocentskizoe.