The working environment at Bombo barracks is seemingly not conducive as UPDF FC players (or at least a section) are running out of patience and threatening to take legal action against club management, ChimpReports has learnt.
The newly promoted Uganda Premier League side is said to have gone one year minus clearing their players’ salary arrears mainly for those that joined at the start of last season while some have spent up to eight months.
A trusted source which preferred anonymity disclosed to ChimpReports that players who featured in the entire 2019/2020 FUFA Big League campaign depended on club allowances and upkeeps but with no pay hence plotting a petition and strike to settle their discontent.
It is said that some players join the Armyside on a club contract while others sign with the Ministry of Defense but with recommendation from the management.
Players that sign a club agreement have however, been receiving their remuneration unlike those with pending contract approval from the ministry and have not yet been verified in the system.
“If you sign a contract with the ministry, it takes quite long to be approved as the protocol takes a long process,” a player who preferred anonymity told this website.
“So they tip you with allowances every after a given period of time for upkeep and even if you run out of contract, they clear all the arrears, but now the situation is worrying since we don’t know when to be approved and get our money,” He added.
The players’ situation at the club is more worrying as some aren’t certain of their future at the club following the abrupt change of management.
Majority on the current squad were recruited by Coach Steven Bogere and team manager David Nkugwa but the former was controversially replaced by Kefa Kisala hence creating confusion among the players’ future at the club.
“Some players were convinced by the previous leadership of manager Nkugwa David and Bogere Steven who are no more at the club. Now the new management led by Ashiraf Miiro is planning of recruiting new players without even caring about old players.”
“So some players want FUFA to intervene and rescue them because it seems the new management has no plans to work with us who were signed by coach Bogere and others are soon running out of contracts, the source continued.
The player further gave an insight on players who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and some are about to be chased out of their rentals by their landlords due to unpaid rent fees.
“The players are at home and they don’t understand what’s going on at the club. They hear of a new coach, assistant they don’t know whether they will be retained or released with others running out of contract. Many have also been evicted from their rentals but the club seems unbothered,” he revealed.
The players whose contracts are pending for approval by the ministry are now planning to take their complaints a step further by writing to the FUFA Players Status Committee for redress.
Steven Bogere’s controversial sacking
Earlier this month, former club coach Steven Bogere was replaced by Kefa Kisala under unclear circumstances, a shocking move that came in the wake of guiding the club back to the Uganda Premier League.
Bogere who had a running employment contract, was verbally relieved of his duties without receiving any official notice from the management and CEO Ashiraf Miiro.
Both Bogere and Nkugwa were given extra powers by the club patron CDF Gen. David Muhoozi to help the club gain promotion as head of technical and manager respectively but were controversially knocked out of leadership.
It’s however, reported that Miiro who bounced back as the new CEO, masterminded Bogere’s sacking without fulfilling the gaffer’s contractual obligations which was widely considered demeaning to his profession.
Our efforts to reach out to the former Coach Steven Bogere and Manager Nkugwa David were futile as both aren’t willing to speak to the media on issues regarding the club.
Bogere who joined the Bombo based club in October 2017 helped the club gain direct promotion to the top flight after the abrupt end of the FUFA Big League season for 2019/20 because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
UPDF was top of the Rwenzori group standings with 23 points from 11 games by the time FUFA called off the season and will now play MYDA FC to determine the Big League winner.