Kenya: Disquiet at KPL Club Over Delayed Contracts

Kisumu All Stars Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Ochieng' has moved to quell tension at the club over delayed contract renewals.

Ochieng on Wednesday assured the affected players that their "jobs are secure."

There has been disharmony in the team after about half of the players saw their contracts ran out on January 20 without any commitment from the club to negotiate new agreements.

The club has 30 players, who are normally engaged on six-month contracts.

The players who have been affected are those who were part of the team, when it earned promotion to the Premiership in 2019.

They said that the club officials have continuously made "empty promises" to them on the matter.

This is despite offering their services to the team until mid-March, when all football competitions in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the players who spoke to Nation Sport in confidence said they continued to struggle to fend for their families, as the club had not paid them for the period they offered their services, while out of contract.

"The situation is difficult. On some days I am forced to survive on one meal only," said one of the senior players.

Another players stated: "We raised the issue with the club immediately our contracts ended. We don't understand why it has taken them this long to renew them and pay us."

Ochieng blamed the delay in the renewal of the contracts to slow work at the county government as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The contracts should have gone to the Public Service Board for approval. They delayed because most people are not in the office because as they are adhering to the government directive to stay at home in the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus," he said.

SAME OLD ALL STARS

But delayed salary payment and contract renewal is not new at Kisumu All Stars.

On January 16, 17 players, who joined the team last year after its promotion to KPL, staged a sit-in at the corridors of Kisumu County offices to protest non-payment of six months salary.

Complaints were also rife, when the Kisumu County-sponsored team competed in the National Super League in 2018 and 2019.

The players have linked the team's poor run in their KPL debut to lack of motivation, as a result to the unending challenges.

"Had the office played its part well, we would not be at the danger zone. As players, we would have pushed ourselves for good results," said one of the players.

Kisumu All Stars are placed third from bottom on the league with nine points, just one place above the relegation line.

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