NAIROBI, Kenya, January 12 – Players of cash strapped local giants, AFC Leopards have thrown their pre-season preparations into a spin by boycotting training over three-month unpaid dues.
The pre-season was scheduled to begin last week but the players failed to turn up with some like forward Jacob Keli, midfielders Bernard Mang’oli, Humphrey Mieno, defender James Situma and keeper Martin Musalia issuing notice of termination of their contracts.
Club chairman Allan Kasavuli called on the players to report training Tuesday as they negotiate with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) who are owed by the club Sh5.7m (USD 62,486.69) on how they will clear the bill on installment.
“We have reduced the players and technical bench debt by paying them allowances that had accumulated to December 15. We are urging them to be patient as we plan on how we will settle their three months salary that is being held by KRA.
“We were given notice by KRA to pay them Sh5.7m dating back in 2008 but we have paid Sh1.3m (USD 14,245)… so we are set to meet with them and discuss on the payment plan because paying tax is a must,” Kasavuli declared.
The chairman announced they are yet to officially terminate head coach Pieter De Jongh’s contract and that the Dutchman’s fate will be decided when the National Executive Committee meet the technical bench that includes newly appointed assistant Yussuf Chipo.
“We are demanding a final report from De Jongh before we inform him our stand since there is pressure from the fans. We have identified four players whom we will unveil on Friday when we also launch our new shirt.”
Kasavuli confirmed they have received notice from the players who wanted to terminate their contracts but had not released them except Situma who is in the process of leaving to Tusker FC.
“As far as we are concerned Keli, Mang’oli, Mieno and Musalia are our employees but they should know the problem facing Leopards is not new. It will pass and we will pay them all their money.
“Some of the players are behaving like that because they don’t have the team at heart. I know there are agents who are pushing them to leave the club so that they can get commissions,” the chairman concluded.
Team Manager Willis Waliaula called on the management to settle the issue as quick as possible to enable the team begin pre-season.
“We cannot sign any player for now because of the financial issues that have surrounded the team. We are waiting the matter to be resolved so that we can start training. I believe when we put our house in order we will be better and catch up with the rest,” Waliaula told Capital Sport.