CAF CC: Enyimba Players Refuse To Return To Nigeria Over Unpaid Salaries, Allowances
Enyimba International FC’s quest to win this year’s CAF Confederation Cup has suffered a huge blow as players of the two-time CAF Champions League have threatened not to return to Nigeria from South Africa unless their outstanding salaries and match allowances are paid.
Enyimba, back-to-back CAF Champions League winners in 2003 and 2004 lost 2-1 to Orland Pirates of South Africa in the Group A of the 2021 CAF Confederation Cup on Wednesday, however, the players have threatened not to return home unless the management of the club did the needful in paying the salary and allowances arears.
It was gathered that following the defeat to the Buccaneers, the players of the most successful Nigerian club resolved to boycott their return flight to Nigeria except their outstanding payments are cleared.
Players are being owed one month salary and match bonuses dating back to last season, while many others have yet to receive their transfer fees.
Speaking exclusively to busybuddiesng.com from their Town Lodge Base in South Africa, a player who pleaded anonymity said: “Honestly I think we did very well against Orlando Pirates because with what is going on in the team right now, I didn’t know we could put up such a fight.
“All the players came to this match broke. We are all broke. We’ve not received February salaries and no estacode was paid. No allowances, nothing. We are still being owed bonuses from last season but through all these, we were ready to fight until the end.
“The situation is really bad. We were supposed to go on strike before now but we did not because of the respect we have for the management. They appealed to us and we stayed calm, but right now we have all decided that we won’t leave South Africa until we get something positive.”
Another player who also pleaded anonymity echoed a similar view.
“You won’t believe that I don’t have up to one thousand naira in any of my three accounts. How will I feed? What will I send to my family?
“We have a very good team that can win this Confederation Cup, but the players must be motivated. It is very difficult for players to concentrate on the game when they are being owed here and there. It can destabilise a team.
“We tried to speak with the management but they appealed to us to be patient because they were still expecting money from the government, but nothing has happened until now.
“We were supposed to go on strike before now, but the management appealed to us and we listened. But right now, the players are ready to do what it takes to get the money we have worked for. We can’t continue to be suffering and smiling.”
The Enyimba delegation were originally scheduled to leave Johannesburg via an Ethiopian Airline flight by 11:30 pm local time (10:30 pm in Nigeria) on Thursday. But it is unclear whether the aggrieved players will board the flight as a result of their latest threat.
Enyimba, Nigeria’s sole-surviving team on the continent this season, dropped to 2nd in Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup, with 3pts from two matches, a point behind leaders Orlando Pirates.
The Fatai Osho-tutored side will next face Algerian giants Entente Setif in a double-header on the 1st and 11 of next month.