Santos players up in arms over unpaid salaries… no answers yet from club owner

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Otniel Hembapu

Windhoek-A massive storm of discontent is brewing at MTC Namibia Premier League (NPL) returnees Chief Santos after it emerged the club has not paid its players for almost two months. Club owner Hendrik Dawids is said to be watching from a distance and not giving any answers.

The Tsumeb-based club has failed to pay their players and staff for the months of October and November. And from the look of things, payday for the stranded players does not appear imminent.

A group of dismayed Santos players that spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed to New Era Sport that they have not received their salaries for October and the prospects of them getting paid this month-end appear bleak as the club’s leadership indicated that the club currently has a zero bank balance.

According to one of the players, Dawids and the entire club headship refuse to discuss the ailing situation with the playing personnel and it is also understood that most of the club’s executive members have since resigned from their various roles, leaving the players with no one to attend to their grievances.

Santos’ claim that there is no money to pay the players’ salaries is puzzling some say, and invites more questions than answers, because all 16 clubs were given a lump sum of N$260,000 from the NPL to cover expenses for the months of September, October, November and December, well in advance.

The idea behind giving the clubs a lump sum of N$260,000 was to help the teams get their operations up and running quickly and to sign players much sooner, as clubs would have cash readily available to secure their preferred players.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Santos owner Dawids was evasive, saying: “Sorry my brother, I’m currently busy with a meeting. I can’t comment on those things… I will call you later,” before hurriedly hanging up the phone without having taken time to digest the questions put to him.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Namibia Football Players Union (NAFPU), Olsen Kahiriri, confirmed the nonpayment of players’ salaries for almost two months now and said the union has already engaged the club’s leadership, but their meeting failed to bear any fruits as the club made it clear they don’t have money to pay the players.

Kahiriri said no concrete reasons or answers were provided as to why the club does not have money to pay wages and no answers were also given as to the fate of the NPL’s N$260,000 grant, Kahiriri however assured that NAFPU was ready and well prepared to breathe heavily down the necks of Santos’ management until the players are paid their salaries in full.

The Copper Town outfit is currently sitting 15th on the 16-team log after a rocky start to the season and have only managed to scrape together two victories so far.

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