Mt Kenya United players lament neglect by owner

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]elegation from a top-flight league hits a club in every aspect but mostly financially. In the case of Kenya Premier League side, Mount Kenya United, lack of finances is leading them to more financial problems.

The club that was acquired by Nairobi politician Francis Mureithi at a time it was suffering financially as its chief sponsor at the time, Nakumatt Supermarkets, was going through lean times. There was hope that change of ownership at the club meant that the financial troubles would come to an end.

However, to the players’ surprise, nothing changed at all. In fact, the situation worsened. The team has now been relegated to the National Super League, which generates less money for a club than the KPL does.

Speaking at Citizen TV’s show Monday Football, the players expressed their plight to Kenyans asking for well-wishers to chip in something just to help them go by let alone honour matches.
Some players in the club have not been paid their salaries for up to 10 months!

The situation is more difficult for the players than we think. Imagine a landlord who watches you play football on TV and even sees your photos in the newspapers. How do you convince that landlord that you don’t have money to pay rent? Is that even believable?

“We have tried to reach the owner but we cannot. He only communicates with the coach. Most of the players spend nights at friends’ houses and others even spend at clubs,” Mount Kenya United Captain Kelvin Thairu said. “We have not even been training, we only show up for matches”

“At first, we didn’t want to expose our situation because we are a family as Mount Kenya. We were forced to come out when the situation became worse and the fans were blaming us for the losses,” Thairu added.

Two of Mount Kenya players are not from Kenya. Goalkeeper Morzat Adjetey, who comes from Ghana, and striker Litumba Zunzi from Congo suffer the most in this KPL club.

Morzat signed for Mount Kenya three months ago and is yet to receive a single cent from the club. He signed a three-month contract that will expire at the end of the season but he has no hope of being paid.

“It’s three months now and I haven’t received any money, not even accommodation. They have even collected my passport at the hotel because I have not paid. I just sleep there as the bill continues to pile. I will be given my passport if I pay,” Morzat lamented.

The League is now on its homestretch and very soon Morzat will have to go back to Ghana. He, however, can’t travel back home without a passport. Actually, Morzat is stuck in Kenya until he receives his salaries from Mount Kenya United.

The players tried seeking help from Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko but apparently, the owner warned Sonko from getting involved with the team. They tried talking to President Uhuru Kenyatta but the president said he was asked not to involve himself in Mount Kenya United affairs.

Prior to their match against Kakamega Homeboyz, they received Ksh 30,000 from Homeboyz owner Cleophas ‘toto’ Shimanyula who did not want them to give his team a walkover.

Read: The jobless employment authority

It is sad, indeed, that a team which plays in the top flight league in the country can go through such troubles.

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Kevin Namunwa
Kevin Namunwahttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected].

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