Trouble is brewing at Nyasa Big Bullets. The club owes players more than K40 million (about $60 000) in signing on fees which were supposed to be paid at the beginning of the season.
The development has brought dissent in the team as other players claim the club has been preferential on newly-signed players, who they claim were already paid their signing on fees.
The People’s Team had a poor start to the season in the quest for a third successive league title by winning just two out of their five games, a development that is being attributed to the players’ frustrations.
Bullets signed seven players at the beginning of the season. They roped in John Lanjesi, Emmanuel Zoya from Civo, Mike Mkwate from Wizards, Ernest Kakhobwe from Azam Tigers, Muhammad Sulumba, George Nyirenda, Amadu Makawa and Kondwani Kumwenda.
However, the club says all the players have not been paid the signing on fees as they await contract review conclusion for all players.
Three senior players that we talked to on condition of anonymity, claimed they have been sidelined for pushing for payment of their signing on fees.
“The issue here is that the players that have just joined the club were paid the signing on fees. Yet those of us who were already with the team, but have renewed contracts have not been paid up to now,” said one of the players.
“If they find out that I have talked to the media on this issue, I will be punished. There are some players that have not been playing just because they voiced their concerns on the signing on fees. There is a lot of politics going on at the club right now.”
Captain Chiukepo Msowoya, the only player authorised to speak to the media, denied any knowledge of dissent in the Bullets camp over the unpaid signing on fees.
“I am not aware of anything of that sort. Not to my knowledge,” said Msowoya.
Acting general secretary Kelvin Moyo confirmed owing the players over K40 million in signing on fees but denied selective payment of the signing on fees.
He said: “We embarked on a process to normalise issues at the team. One of which was contracts review. We have just finished the review process which saw the raise in salaries and game bonuses. The next step is paying of signing on fees.
“You should appreciate that we have reviewed everyone’s contract at the club including the technical panel. The amount for the signing on fees is huge—over K40 million. We will need more funds now than the coming years due to the review process. Our aim is to conclude everything by August.”