SOCCER: Kenyan players in trouble - Daily Nation

SOCCER: Kenyan players in trouble

Tuesday June 27 2006

By NATION Reporter

Two Kenyan footballers are among African players reportedly living in misery after a Singapore club, Sporting Afrique, allegedly reneged on contractual agreements concerning their pay.

The players, former Harambee Stars midfielder Nicholas Muyoti and full back Thomas Biketi, both joined the S-League club less than a year ago from Thika United.

Gerald Chege, the Thika United vice chairman, said they were aware of the problems the two players were facing. 

"We have not been able to get the players' own accounts of what is happening but we are following it up with the president of the club," he said.

However, according to a report by the BBConline, all 22 have been receiving just over US$60 per month since January instead of the US$1,000 per month stipulated in their contracts. 

The report also says the players live in a semi-detached house, with five or six players sharing a single room.

The Kenyans, along with other players mostly from Nigeria and Cameroon, are living in squalour in one of the richest places on earth.

Sporting Afrique are seventh in the 11-team S-League with 17 points from 12 matches.

The players, who are bound by contract not to speak to the media or risk getting the sack, say they have had enough. 

Speaking to BBC Sport on condition of anonymity, one of the footballers said their predicament was "unacceptable". 

He said: "When we came to Singapore, we were promised better lives and better contracts from what we had in Africa. 

"But we have barely enough to travel and buy food. And we can't afford to send any money home. 

"There's simply no way anyone can live on US$60 a month in Singapore." 

But Sporting Afrique claim that the players have separate contracts which allow for deductions for food and accommodation. 

Club president Collin Chee, a member of the Football Association of Singapore council, said: "We are not a rich club and this is our first season in the S-League. 

"The players knew what they were signing. We're not short-changing any of them," Chee, a former TV actor, told Singapore's Today newspaper. 

He added: "If they play well, they will be offered bigger contracts at other clubs. That should be their ambition." 

But the players have threatened to take "further steps" if their demands for better pay and living conditions are not met. 

"If necessary, we will seek help from our embassies and report the matter to Singapore's Ministry of Manpower," said the Sporting Afrique player who spoke to BBC Sport.