NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 13 – Just less than three days before their Kenyan Premier League clash against Thika United, champions in elect Gor Mahia are staring at taking a half-fit squad for the clash with the players having boycotted training over unpaid salary and winning bonuses.
As at Thursday morning, the players were yet to report to training, four days after their scheduled return from the international break.
“I just spoke to the TM (Team Manager) this morning and he told me the players have said they will not resume training until their salaries and bonuses are paid. Honestly, I don’t know which squad I will take to Thika,” head coach Dylan Kerr told Capital Sport.
The players are said to be owed August salaries as well as match winning bonuses for eight games; two from the Confederations Cup and six from the KPL.
Club chairman Ambrose Rachier is out of the country and according to a section of players who spoke to Capital FM, that is the source of all the problems.
Vice Chairman John Pesa has admitted that indeed they owe the players arrears but notes that has been occasioned because of the delay in receiving funds from sponsors and the sale of left back Godfrey Walusimbi to South African giants Kaizer Chiefs.
“Yes, we owe the players, but it is because there is some money we have not received and we expect it by the end of the week. We will talk to the players and ask them to be patient as we get the cash. It is not a good situation but we shall resolve,” Pesa said.
But, the players have said they are yet to hear from the officials concerning their grievances and have vowed not to return to training until their unpaid salary and bonuses hit their accounts.
“We have not trained this week and I don’t think we will until we are paid. The worst thing is that no one is communicating to us. We have not been told anything so we are left to wonder. If we keep quiet, they will take advantage of us,” one of the players said.
Another one added; “People are suffering in here. On the outside, people will look at us and all the success we have had and they will think we live the best lives ever. It’s not the case. We have worked hard as players to put the team high up there but most of the times we feel like our efforts are not being replicated.”
“A team-mate just told me his house was almost being locked because he hasn’t paid rent and I had to dip into my savings and help him out. It is the case with many other players.”
Kerr is disturbed with the ongoings at the club especially at a time when he wants to finish the season strongly aiming at maximum points in all the remaining games.
“I am devastated because of this. It is detrimental to everything we are trying to do as a club. I don’t want my players going on strike. It is not good for us, it is not good for them. But at the same time, the club has to take care of the players and their welfare. This should not be happening in modern football,” Kerr further opined.
The players now say most of them are ready to leave if a good offer comes on the table, only for better terms.
“I can’t blame Wazza (Walusimbi) and Meddie for leaving. I wouldn’t have blamed Kachi (Francis Kahata) if he left. When you are not treated like the big player you are and a good offer comes, what would prevent you from leaving,” another player posed.