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Ingwe fans launch pay bill number for players’ salaries

Desperate AFC Leopards fans have launched a mobile money pay bill number targeting 1,000 club members to help raise funds to offset the outstanding players’ salaries and winning allowances running into millions of shillings.

This happened as the crisis at the club deepened after the recalled players Patrick Matasi and Erick Masika unapologetically turned down the offer to don Ingwe’s jersey for another season.

Club organizing secretary Timothy Lilumbi told Nairobi News that the launch of the pay bill number was purely the fans’ initiative and that is should not be misconstrued to imply that the club is on the verge of financial collapse.

“The National Executive Council has nothing to do with the campaign. The players’ salaries are there, but we are having a problem with our taxes, and that is something we are working on,” Lilumbi said.

FANS’ INITIATIVE

“That is a purely fans’ initiative. We have nothing to do with it. And the reports flying around that we are enduring a sour relationship with our sponsors is a lie. We are having financial problems because of a small problem with the Kenya Revenue Authority but the salaries are there. We are working on the issue and we will soon sort out the arrears,” he added.

The players who turned down a second chance offer from Ingwe, Matasi and Masika were in the list of seven players who had allegedly been offloaded from the squad on the first day of the transfer window.

But they were recalled a day later with the management saying that they were erroneously included in the list.

Second choice goalkeeper Matasi who had stood in for Wycliffe Kasaya, who was suspended at the tail end of the season, has already accepted a long term contract with newly promoted Posta Rangers, while former Gor Mahia defender Erick “PPO” Masika is said to be negotiating a two-year deal with KRA.

FIRST CHOICE ‘KEEPER

“Matasi has signed a five-year contract with us and we are counting on him to be our first choice goalkeeper because of his experience,” Rangers chairman John Tonui told Nairobi News.

The new development presents a problem for the club officials, with reports indicating that the dependable Wycliffe Kasaya could be on his way back to his former club Gor Mahia if a proposed deal goes through.

Ingwe have in the past week come under sharp criticism from the players and fans after their longest serving player Charles Owemba cited poor leadership as the sole reason he opted out of the club with six months remaining on his contract.

“The truth is that Ingwe is headed by a bunch of jokers who have no idea what the players are going through. As a co-captain, I have pursued all avenues to help bring some professionalism to the club to no avail. I don’t want to be part of a failure and if the club officials continue to run the club like this, then I am afraid our club is headed for the ruins,” Okwemba said.