Following poor strings of results recorded by Akwa United FC of Uyo, fans of the Uyo based side are worried that the team may be heading for another stiff relegation battle. The team has only managed
Research has revealed that performance of #GloNPFL clubs has positive correlation with welfare of players. This can be evident in clubs like Kano Pillars of Kano, Enyimba International of Aba, Abia Warriors of Umuahia, Warri Wolves of Warri amongst others.
For Akwa United FC of Uyo, disclosing salaries and allowances players are paid is a major crime; none in public domain should be privy of such information, a club source said. The reverse is the case in some clubs across the country. The financial worth of Akwa United players are yet to be disclosed to the public since beginning of the season in March.
During the start of the 2013/2014 football season, the League Management Company (LMC), saddled with responsibility of organizing the league abolished sign on fees for players and asked clubs to split player’s sign on fees over a period of twelve months and pay the players monthly salaries.
The LMC also placed a benchmark of N150,000/Month for players in the league, meaning an average player in the league should get N1.8m in a year. A player that earned N3m as sign on fees for a season, should earn N250,000/Monthly, by the new rule.
Akwa United just like other teams, struggled last season to meet this financial obligation, given the fact that the club had already submitted its budget to Government as at the time the new rule was enacted.
It was believed that the club’s authorities will accommodate the new LMC salary benchmark in their budget this year to Government, given the LMC’s insistence on the new payment structure.
If reports emanating from certain sources are anything to go by, the club may be in for some difficult times as regards the welfare of its players. It has recently been rumoured that some players in the team receive as low as N20,000/Monthly, some N70,000/Monthly, while the highest paid player in the club, according to another source is in the region of N200,000/Monthly. Most of the players reportedly do not have contract papers.
The club reportedly receives about N400m/Annually from Akwa Ibom State Government, double of what many clubs competing in the continent budget for a season. If this figure is anyway close to reality, then it is necessary and worth asking some compelling questions.
Some players in the #GloNPFL earn close to N1m/Monthly, N800,000/Monthly, N500,000/Monthly, N400,000/Monthly and so on. These are big named players, experienced and vast, qualities you cannot find in the Uyo based club. If I may ask, why can’t Akwa United recruit these sorts of quality players? IS it that the club cannot pay or sustain quality players? No wonder, it has been referred to as a breeding ground for other teams.
For a team that traded off the likes of Ezekiel Bassey, Ubong Ekpai, Mfon Udoh, Godspower Aniefiok, Kufre Ebong etc, and brought in relatively poor quality players as replacement, one can be forced to say such team has no vision, target and objective. When other clubs are busy scheming on how to secure continental tickets, Akwa United’s focus is to maintain its status as a professional league club year in, year out. This is evident in the club’s fight for survival in the past three seasons.
Last season, players of the team protested non-payment of salaries and allowances at Government House, which our listening Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio responded immediately and ordered the release of N200m to the club authorities to clear debts owed players.
As a concerned citizen of the state and an ardent follower of the #GloNPFL, I am constrained to ask certain prevailing questions as thus:
1. Why can’t the public be privy of what Akwa United players are paid?
2. Do Akwa United players have contract papers, bonding them with the club?
3. Why is the club not moving forward? Is it poor efficiency on the part of management or lack of funds to run the club?
4. Does Akwa United have a plan/target for the current season?
5. What must be done to salvage Akwa United from dwindling?
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Words by Promise Etim