WINDHOEK, 15 MAY – Orlando Pirates Football Club released some players after their successful fight against relegation in the 2017/18 Namibia Premier League (NPL) season, which ended recently.
This was confirmed by the club’s Chief Executive Officer, Niklaas Kisilipile on Saturday following widespread social media reports to that effect and that players allegedly trashed the club’s office on receiving termination letters.
Reports have it that more than 20 players were released after a poor season in which the club had to employ three coaches, only to survive on the last two matches of the season.
“We decided as a club to release the players from their contracts for several reasons, one being the fact that we do not have any sponsor on board, hence we cannot pay them during the off season,” Kisilipile said.
He also said they released the players because of poor performance during the season.
Without providing numbers or names, Kisilipile said some players failed to pitch up during the season but continued to receive salaries from the club, while others would turn up, only to underperform during matches.
“As you noticed during some games, we would play with two or three substitutes on the bench while we had over 20 players registered with the league but come month end, we would pay these players their full salaries,” he explained.
He added that some players would fake injuries to avoid playing but continue being paid.
Kisilipile further stated that the club’s assets were not damaged, contrary to such rumours doing the rounds.
Some players confirmed that they were issued with letters terminating their services last week.
“Some of us signed these letters while others refused to sign. We were paid all our monies during the season, but we thought our contracts were ending on the last day of June before the registration for the new 2018/19 season,” said one player who requested anonymity.
Another player who requested this agency not to mention his name, said it was unjust and unfair for the club to terminate their contracts after having secured their status in the elite league.
Namibia Football Players Union Secretary-General, Olsen Kahiriri said they cannot intervene in cases where clubs terminate players’ contracts until the players approach their office.
“We urgently need the NPL to establish a dispute resolution chamber (DRC) to handle such cases. How does one get their contract terminated without any hearing?” he asked.
Kahiriri said they approached the league in November 2017 with a draft document for the establishment of the DRC but up to now, the NPL had not responded to them.
Meanwhile, Kisilipile said they will be calling players to sign up with the club before the start of the new season, urging new and former players who wish to play for Pirates to come negotiate new terms of employment.
The new season is projected to start in August.