HARARE – Riot police yesterday stepped in to cool down flaring tempers between CAPS United directors and their players during a storm meeting over unpaid salaries.
Yesterday’s ugly meeting between co-director Nhamo Tutisani and hordes of angry players was the latest embarrassing episode which further exposed problems at the former Cup Kings.
All the brouhaha comes as CAPS United signed almost an entire new team at the beginning of the season – amid a public relations stunt in which club bosses unveiled an audacious plan to turn the disgraced former champions into a commercial powerhouse.
Yesterday’s embarrassing scenes in which players tested the coronavirus tough regulations to toyi-toyi at Tutisani’s business premises – served to underline the growing decay within the CAPS United institution.
At least two thirds of the Makepekepe squad converged at Tutisani’s business premises in Eastlea on the periphery of the CBD where they blocked his vehicle from entering.
A heated exchange between the club boss and the players then ensured – with an unrestrained Tutisani threatening to expel new signing Innocent Mucheneka, together with strikers John Zhuwawu and Phenias Bamusi – for demanding their salaries which they alleged are long overdue.
Tutisani denied that the club had not paid its players for three months while admitting that the bosses were working to pay players what was due to them.
The players alleged that they last received their full salaries in February and could no longer afford to make ends meet especially during the current lockdown which was imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are owed at least three months’ salary by the club and once June ends, it will be four months.
“We have obligations like rentals and we need to provide food for our families.
“Right now most of us have run out of excuses to tell our landlords and we are on the brink of being evicted,” one of the affected players told the Daily News.
Another player said they were mulling staging a sit-in at Tutisani’s premises until they had been paid all their outstanding” money.
“After our confrontation in the morning, we allowed Tutisani to finally get into the premises and he’s currently locked up in his office right now.
“He was saying we should go and demonstrate at the club’s offices in Mt Pleasant but we are not going there, this is where (his offices) we signed most of our contracts.
“We are going to be here until the outstanding salaries have been deposited into our accounts. We are even prepared to sleep here,” said another player.
“They got money from NetOne for our salaries but they do not want to forward the money to us why?
“We spoke to our colleagues at Highlanders, who are also sponsored by NetOne and they told us there was a delay but their salaries were now up to date,” chipped in another disgruntled player.
CAPS United are among the clubs that have not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced the PSL to delay this season’s commencement.
Recently, the club chiefs invited public scorn after they accepted donations of a 10kg bag of mealie meal and 2 litres of cooking oil each, for its players.