Esperance FC players and club officials are engaged in a blame game as the team faces eminent relegation on its debut in the First Division league.
Players cite lack of motivation caused by poor administration, while officials accuse the players of lack of commitment and experience as the cause of the team’s dismal performance.
Esperance FC are bottom of the 14-team table with 16 points from 22 matches, leaving them at the mercy of a miracle to avoid relegation.
The Kimisagara-based club was promoted to the First Division after emerging champions of the Second Division last season, along with Gicumbi FC. However, they have found life in the top flight harder than they probably expected.
Speaking to Times Sport on condition of anonymity some players complained of not getting their salaries as well as match bonuses, something they say has greatly affected their performance.
“Initially we were promised to be paid at the end of each month and the club was supposed to pay school fees for some players, but it seems all these promises were hot air,” an aggrieved player said before adding, “Even when you get an injury, you don’t receive any treatment unless you pay for medical costs yourself. This situation has certainly led to the decline in moral and commitment of the players.”
According to the players, they only receive a bus fare to enable them travel to and from the training sessions.
However head coach Camarade Banamwana has refuted the allegations. Banamwana said his team’s poor performance is a result of lack of experience as this is the first time the team is playing in the first division.
“Playing in the first division for the first time was always going to be a tough challenge for the players. That is the underlying reason of our struggles. It has nothing to do with lack of motivation,” noted the former Bugesera FC coach.
Banamwana noted that the team’s woes were expected after starting the season against some of the big teams like Police FC and APR.
“We never recovered from those early losses,” he said of the first stumble that has cost them a lot.
When contacted over the issue, the Esperance president Donatien Nsengimana told Times Sport that indeed they promised the players some incentives which the club is finding hard to fulfill.
He said the club was built on a foundation of helping young players to develop their talent.
“We informed the players of our meager resources to sustain the team in First Division. We can’t get everything they need as we don’t receive any sponsorship from anybody. Even those clubs which are in a more stable position financially are in the red and fighting to avoid relegation,” stated Nsengimana.
Amagaju FC (17 points) and AS Muhanga (18) are the other teams struggling to leave the relegation zone with just three rounds of matches remaining.
Rayon Sports lead with 55 points, level with second-placed APR FC, but the defending champions have a better goal difference of three.