WINDHOEK – Having survived relegation to the country’s lower tie division by the skin of their teeth, MTC Premiership campaigners Citizens Football Club find themselves in another ugly battle – this time off the field.
Much traveled net buster Henry “Tsiki” Somseb, 31, has come out with guns blazing accusing his employers of playing dirty tactics. The aggrieved striker is furious saying he has gone without payment for almost three months.
By his own admission, the club reneged on its contractual obligation when they cheesed off his agreed monthly salary from N$4 000 to a meager N$2 000 per month.
“I renewed my employment contract at the beginning of the just ended season only to be verbally notified the club could no longer afford to pay me the agreed salary stipulated in the contract.
It is further stated that without prior consultation with the playing personnel, management resolved to downsize the players’ salaries – citing financial constraints.
“My monthly salary was cut down to N$850 000 with N$500 000 (training) and N$500 000 (bonus) added on, which amounts to almost N$2 000 per month depending on the number of wins.
Somseb, who has previously played for home team, Chief Santos, coastal giants Blue Waters, Eleven Arrows, African Stars, Black Africa and SKW, joined the Citizens in the 2013/2014 season, playing a pivotal role in steering the Katutura outfit to the country’s flagship football league in the 2014/2015 campaign.
The much-traveled outspoken striker was also capped twice at junior level during the infant years of his controversy ridden football career.
The dominant view is that local football clubs have developed a nasty habit of promising footballers lucrative salaries way beyond their scope – a practice that always come back to haunt them big time.
Approached for comment, club chairman and co-owner Dawid Goagoseb shot down the allegations labeling them a “blatant lie”.
“He must show you the signed contract, it is a lie, a blatant one for that matter. The boy is lying through his teeth, talking about an expired contract, which has already expired – the club does not owe him a single penny,” charged Goagoseb angrily.
Pressed to disclose the figure in the new contract, Goagoseb confirmed the club went into a verbal agreement with the aggrieved player whereupon it was confirmed that he would be paid pro rata based on appearances and days for training because of persistent injuries that has kept Somseb out of action for a considerable period.
“We cautioned the boy against training with unregistered clubs and playing bush football but our plea fell on deaf ears. We cannot continue paying somebody a salary who does not render services to our team – simple as that.”
Namibian footballers rank amongst the lowest paid athletes in comparison to their Southern African counterparts. Meanwhile, New Era Sport has established that Katutura giants African Stars and Tigers are leading the pack with the highest monthly wage bill.
As it is customary practice in global football, southern African players including Namibia are remunerated in different salary scales with the highest earners here taking home approximately N$8 000 on top of win bonuses.
A significant chunk of local clubs operates on a shoestring budget depending largely on the N$65 000 monthly grant from the league’s principal sponsor MTC.
Top earners in the MTC Premiership take home N$8 000 per month excluding win bonuses while the lowest are made to do with N$1 000 per month, which is slightly less than what pensioners take home. With almost 90 per cent of the playing personnel unemployed, few are obliged to seek alternative employment elsewhere to supplement their meager income.
And to worsen matters, clubs are also burdened with the provision of accommodation, meals and transport amongst a list of astronomical