Friday, September 17, 2021
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Storm brews at Una Una over COVID-19 relief package

 

 …as executive offers package as ‘signing
on’ fees

Clayton Shereni

Just a
few days after receiving the COVID-19 relief package, bankrupt Masvingo United
football club (FC) has capitalized on the funds and have reportedly opted to
use the money as signing on fees to acquire the services of ‘new’ and old
players, TellZim News has learnt.

TellZim
News has it on good authority that each player has been offered $1 700 as
signing on fees, $2 000 monthly salary and $1 000 winning bonus.

Members
of the technical team are reportedly on a recruitment drive where they are
trying to lure players to sign $1 700 contracts but are facing a resistance
from returning players who are demanding an explanation on why the club
leadership waited for the COVID-19 funding for them to start contractual
negotiations.

Una Una
who were looking forward to extent their begging bowl to the corporate world
failed to secure a single deal as businesses are grappling from the effects of
the pandemic.

Some
players who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity expressed
dissatisfaction with the way the executive is handling the funds which came
from the Fifa and Caf and was mainly meant for their welfare.

“How on
earth can Fifa (world football governing body) buy players for a football team?
This money came to help us players during these hard times not to be used as
signing on fees.

“We are
disappointed with how they are treating us because we are starving and they
want to take advantage of that situation and get us to sign contracts for free
because the money which they are trying to use to lure us is primarily meant
for us,” said the player.

Una Una
club chairperson Hubert Fidze confirmed that they were using some of the money
to sign players but said they arrived at the decision after wider
consultations.

“Yes
it’s true we are signing players using the large chunk of the money although
the $1 700 is subject to change depending on the number of players we sign.
This was decided after wider consultations with stakeholders including Zifa
itself.

“Initially
we were targeting to sign 22 players and now we have secured only 13 players
because we are having challenges with some people who are claiming to be
managers of the players.

“We
will sign those who are willing and make them open accounts as soon as possible
so that we transfer the money into their accounts,” said Fidze.

Zifa
Eastern region chairperson Davison Muchena said the terms and conditions of the
package were clear and that the region will demand a report from every club on
how the money was used.

“The
money came with the primary goal of cushioning signed players. When we held our
meeting we agreed that clubs will bring reports about how they disbursed the
funds and clearly show us their records and we expect those reports by end of
September,” said Muchena.

With at
least five players of their 2019 squad already signed with Greenfuel, Mutare
City and Bikita Minerals and PSL debutants Tenax CS, Una Una are reportedly
caught between a hard rock and hard surface as they continue to struggle to tie
down quality players.

Other
teams like Chiredzi Stars have gone an extra mile and cushioned their players
with groceries but Una Una has failed to agree terms with the majority of last
season’s remaining players.

Each
team in the region was allocated a total of $85 000 but the Busmen as Una Una
is also known in the football circles received an allocation which was $7 000
less as a penalty fee for late affiliation.

The new
executive for Masvingo giants failed to source $26 500 for their affiliation
fee and were rescued by Masvingo City Council who bailed them out on the 11th
hour.

 

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