CAPS players turn to fans for help as financial crisis worsens

Some players from the country’s Premier Soccer League clubs have resorted to getting food and financial assistance from fans in the wake of an economic crisis which continues to erode their salaries, Soccer24 has established.

The country’s economy has taken a turn in the wrong direction over the past two years, with skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and a weakening currency being the main characteristics.

Football clubs have consequently encountered  difficulties in paying players decent salaries, or at least raising them,  a situation which has been worsened by the Covid-19 crisis, which has seen sponsors pulling out.

A CAPS United player who asked not to be named, opened up on the challenges they are facing and what life has become.

“Life has been difficult my brother. We have been getting the same salaries we were getting in January, so you can imagine how tough it has been for us considering how things have changed since the start of the year,” he said.

Giant telecommunications company Netone has been bankrolling the salary bill at Makepekepe but are reported to have pulled out, leaving club president Farai Jere with no choice but to foot it from his own pocket.

“NetOne is no longer paying CAPS players’ salaries. The money we have been getting of late is coming from the president (Jere), so us knowing its money from his own pocket since there is no sponsor makes it difficult to ask for a raise,” explained the player.

Considering how much the surrogate RTGS currency has lost value since January when the players penned their contracts, it’s clear the salaries have been eroded and the alternative is now to get help from fans.

“It has really been tough. We are now getting assistance from fans most of the time, the money we get for our salaries is just not enough for us to survive,” he revealed.

Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) secretary-general Thomas Sweswe expressed great concern over the salaries being paid to players in the country’s top-flight league, describing them as  a sorry state.