Players of Nigeria National League side, Nembe City Football Club of Bayelsa state are alleging that management of the club led by the chairperson, Mrs. Baribote and her husband, Chief Victor Baribote Ramson are threatening to end their football career if they continue to protest against non- payment of accrued salaries and entitlements spanning over six months from January – to June 2014.
They also alleged that the Baribotes have also threatened to take on any authority who tries to take side with the protesting players including the League Management Committee led by Tony Irabor.
This was the revelation of first team players of the club numbering about fourteen who said they are grappling with untold hardship and pressure from their various families over continues withholding of their money.
The fourteen players are therefore calling on the League management Committee to come to their rescue and compel the club to pay them their money. The players who spoke under the aegis of ‘Save our Soul LMC’ said the chairperson of the club, Mrs Baribote has admitted that the club is facing serious financial challenges; however the players are averse to that admission, questioning the where about of the initial N10 million naira handed to the club in the first round to settle players but was not used.
Reports in the media in recent week indicates that management of Nembe City FC have refused to pay their players, for over 5-6 months, despite consistently featuring in a good number of games in the first round. While some of the players in the team decided to play relying on a change of fortune, these fourteen players who said they have waited for about six months without any improvement said they have decided to do the needful no matter the what to peacefully demand for their rightful payments.
‘The second round of the domestic football season is about to finally kick off but there is no physical indication that the players will even be paid salaries and entitlements of the first round matches after about six months of delay’, one of the players who crave for anonymity told newsmen in Bayelsa.
Some of the players who expressed disappointment over the development said a letter has been written to the Mrs Baribote demanding for their salaries and entitlements. They disclosed that an earlier attempt to write to the League Management committee was hampered due to absence of top management of the committee on assignment to the world cup. The players has resolved assured that an official protest letter will be written to the League Management Committee the moment they all return from Brazil while attempt to settle the matter amicably will be pursued vigorously.
We gathered that some of the players, especially those home based compelled to remain calm and support them are weighing up the options to join the initial 14 that started the protest. There is palpable fear that they will boycott matches of the upcoming second round unless authorities of the club pay them their overdue salaries, media reports suggest.
All attempt to speak to the technical adviser of the team, Gabriel Umunna Samuel who also has been owed proved abortive as rumours of his exit rents the air.
When confronted with the reports suggesting that the management is yet to pay the officials and players, three players, Israel Banigo, Israel Kagu and Miebaka stowe among others affirmed that they have refused to have their usual training session as they protest over unpaid fees.
One of the club players who preferred anonymity revealed that the team’s poor performances so far in the league have been largely due to failure of the management to pay their sign-on fees, salaries and entitlements of the current season.
‘Some of us have not been paid a dime from our sign-on fees, others have bee heavily shortchanged – but for salaries since January we are yet to receive as dime since January. The club management is saying nothing about it. And so we have decided to take the matter to another level until they pay us or tell us something reasonable.
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