Sunrise players threaten to strike over unpaid salaries

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of Sunrise FC as the troubled Eastern Province-based club’s financial woes get from bad to worse. Players have threatened to boycott the Peace Cup round of 16 first leg encounter with APR FC on Wednesday unless they get their unpaid salaries and bonuses for the last three months.
Sunrise FC players have threatened to go on strike and not honour Wednesday's Peace Cup game against APR unless they get their salary arrears for three months. (S. Ngendahimana)
Sunrise FC players have threatened to go on strike and not honour Wednesday's Peace Cup game against APR unless they get their salary arrears for three months. (S. Ngendahimana)

Wednesday

Peace Cup: Last 16 round

 

First leg

 

Sunrise FC        vs     APR FC                  3:30pm

 

Musanze          vs     Rayon Sports

Mukura             vs     AS Kigali

AS Muhanga   vs     Bugesera

Police FC           vs     Gicumbi

Thursday

Etincelles          vs     Espoir

Marine              vs     SC Kiyovu

La Jeunesse     vs     Amagaju

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the future of Sunrise FC as the troubled Eastern Province-based club’s financial woes get from bad to worse.

Players have threatened to boycott the Peace Cup round of 16 first leg encounter with APR FC on Wednesday unless they get their unpaid salaries and bonuses for the last three months.

Even the technical staff led by head coach Andre Casa Mbungo have not been paid.

This is the second time in a space of five months that the Nyagatare District-sponsored club has been rocked by financial woes.

Speaking to Times Sport, one club official, who preferred to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, revealed that; “Some players have gone three months without pay. Players who came with the club from Rwamagana and had arrears for four months, it means they haven’t received salary for the last seven months.”

“So, the situation has really become worse, the officials have been pledging to pay for the last two weeks, but nothing has been done, and I believe it’s because there is no will to pay and because of that, the players say they will not play Wednesday’s game unless they are paid,” he noted.

Sunrise FC were dreaming big after making a dream start to the 2016/17 campaign under the new ownership of Nyagatare district, who took them from Rwamagana pledging to turn the club into a force to reckon with.

In December of last year, their then Nigerian head coach Andrew Ibeh made the first alarm of the deteriorating financial situation at the club that had gone three months without paying both players and coaching staff.

Two months later, he was sacked over what the club described as “indiscipline” and replaced by former Police FC head coach Casa Mbugo.

Efforts to get a comment from George Mupenzi, the Mayor of Nyagatare district, which is responsible for the club and welfare of both playing and coaching staff, were futile as he did not pick his phone.

Club president Bosco Ndungutse, declined to make any comment and instead referred this reporter to the club Spokesperson Theoneste Twahirwa, who also said he is away on his leave and directed us to club secretary general, Emmanuel Rebero.

“Yes we have not paid the players but the situation is not as bad as people are making it to be, some people are just exaggerating. We have talked to the players and promised to pay them as soon as possible and I can assure you that they will play Wednesday’s match,” Rebero disclosed.

Asked exactly when the payment is likely to be made, Rebero said that, “What I can tell you is that it won’t take long, even today (Monday) the club president had a meeting with district officials about the issue, I don’t know the resolutions yet but I am sure it will be very soon.”

Sunrise FC are currently in the 10th place with 30 points from seven wins and nine draws. Over the weekend, they beat relegation-threatened Gicumbi FC 1-0 at Stade de Gicumbi.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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