Masters Security FC’s continued failure to pay its players three-month salaries and game bonuses is affecting the club’s morale ahead of this Saturday’s CAF Confederation Cup home fixture against Uganda’s Proline FC.
Some of the team’s players confided in The Nation yesterday that they doubt their commitment to the imminent preliminary round second-leg encounter of the continental competition at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe, where they are expected to overturn a first-leg 3-0 deficit.
Four of the 18 players that travelled to Uganda for the first-leg last week, said the team’s owner Alfred Gangata promised them K30 000 each after the away match, but only gave them K2 000 each and they are still not sure when they will get their salaries and game bonuses.
The players said they were told to get their pay at Masters Security offices on Monday, but they were given only K1 000 each for transport to their respective homes after spending almost the whole day.
“Just imagine going to Uganda and returning home with only K2 000 in our pockets yet we still have not been paid for the last three months and we left our families with nothing before the trip,” said one of the players.
“This is psychological torture and it will be difficult to give our all in the match if we do not get our pay before the start of our training session this afternoon [yesterday].”
Asked how they make ends meet with the current situation, he said: “Amwene, tikungokhala ngati mbalame basi. Ngakhale m’mene ndadzuka lero sindikudziwa kuti ndidyanji [We are just like birds. Even today, I do not know what I will eat].”
The club’s captain Eneya Banda confirmed the development, but said they are hopeful that the team’s authorities will sort things out.
“I urge my team-mates to be calm because authorities have assured to give us something by tomorrow [today] ,” he said.
Masters coach Abbas Makawa refused to comment on how the technical panel would instill confidence in the distraught players to fight for a victory this Saturday.
Gangata could not be reached for comment yesterday but the club’s general secretary Christopher Njeula said they are doing their best to pay the players.
“As I am talking now, we are in the process of handling the payment issue and we will pay the players today [yesterday]. In fact, we were supposed to finalise this process yesterday [Monday], but the clearance of payments at the bank delayed,” he said.
Njeula claimed that the players are not necessarily in desperate situation because the club gave them their upkeep allowances for last weekend’s TNM Super League games “only that they do not want to be honest”.
Football analyst George Kaudza Masina said it is a recipe for disaster for Masters to have disgruntled players ahead of such a high-profile encounter.
“With demotivated players, we should not expect a positive result from this outing. It is high time FAM intervened and got to the bottom of what is happening with Migwanya. Otherwise, this is a joke of a century,” he said.
This is the second time that Masters FC is competing in CAF Confederations Cup as they were booted out in the preliminary round last year.