The management of beleaguered Namibia Premiership outfit Orlando Pirates ran themselves into a tight corner in their failed attempts to try and avoid paying players’ outstanding wages after the no-nonsense Office of the Labour Commissioner unequivocally ordered them to pay the footballers’ unpaid salaries.
Following the July 12 arbitration hearing held under the auspices of the Office of the Labour Commissioner, arbitrator Christophina Namupala-Hamutele unambiguously ordered Pirates to pay the players’ outstanding salaries on or before August 30.
Like an abandoned old shipwreck rusting in the middle of the desert, Pirates was earlier this year left without any leadership following the unceremonious departure of Ali Akan (former chairman) and his entire management team – leaving the playing personnel stranded and in the dark about their immediate future.
Updating New Era Sport on the outcome of the case, Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU) secretary general Olsen Kahiriri, who represented the eight affected players, expressed satisfaction with the overall outcome of the case, saying the footballers’ dignity and welfare has been restored.
Kahiriri said the eight affected players are Ronaldo Tsowaseb, Valton van Staden, Ivan Makina, Charles Uirab, Stanley Kamesepo, Marcello Horaseb, Riaan Hanamub and Christian Doeseb.
Although Uirab, Makina and Kamesepo have since terminated their contracts with Pirates, the outspoken Kahiriri says – as per their employment contracts and the law – all three players must still be compensated together with the others, despite having resigned.
In a separate interview with Nampa, he said a clause in their contracts states that the club will pay the players their salaries at the end of each month, which they failed to do for April, May and June 2016, thus resulting in the club owing the eight players about N$123 000 in outstanding salaries over the said period.
“The judgment will now be taken over by our lawyers to compel Pirates to pay the players’ claims.
“This should be a lesson to all clubs in Namibia so that the days of abusing players come to an end… NAFPU means business.
“We’re not just bluffing. We’re here to serve the real owners of the game, the footballers,” said Kahiriri, who is starting to show some teeth.
Speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, Pirates’ former chairman, Axab Auchamb, said he does not know why he is being dragged into the matter, as he was not in charge of the club during the period in question.
“I was never summoned to the hearing. Ali Akan was in charge of the club at that time. I spoke to him two weeks ago and he promised to pay the players. I will get the judgment and forward it to my lawyers,” he said.
Akan in turn stuck by his earlier stance that he resigned in February, thus has nothing to do with the affairs of Pirates.
“I do not know anything about the club. Auchamb does not know what he is talking about. My name is not on any Orlando Pirates documents, even the Labour Commissioner did not summon me,” Akan fumed.
– Additional source: Nampa