When asked what life has been like at Kyetume FC during the lockdown and ahead of the new season, Benon (not real names) a defender at the club who spoke under anonymity did not mince his word; “Absolutely horrendous.”
The answer to why is a definite one; money or something related to it. Kyetume players are growing increasingly disgruntled with the club for the sustained lack of consideration to their welfare.
On the outside, it is easy to look at the club and the nature of its business in the off-season and transfer window and think of happier times. But underneath, the situation has imploded to great scales.
Kyetume is a club out of order and at a near crisis with dialogue between the disgruntled players and chairmen Ruben Mubiru Kaggwa now as complex and has reached melting point in recent weeks.
With the disruption and financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Kyetume like all the other clubs has been affected financially.
Because the club has been in financial freefall, Benon like everyone else (players and staff) has not been paid since March; eight months without pay under current circumstances has taken its toll on the livelihoods of all player.
“I won’t lie, it has been a hard time for most of us,” Benon opened up to Football256.
“We have families, we also have responsibilities. Its harder for our families; for example, my wife worries a lot and she keeps on asking the question what are we going to do?”
“We are kept on being fed information from the chairman, and when you engage him, he is abusive and disrespects the players,” he added.
Benon joined Kyetume at the start of the 2019/20 season, and he says from the moment he joined the club, he sensed trouble lay ahead.
He joined at a time when former winger Elukana Nkugwa was demanding for his sign-on fees and over a year’s wages, while his exit was blocked. It took the intervention of lawyers to have him released.
Recently, club captain faced an ordeal when he was thrown out of his apartment after failing to pay rent for seven months which had accumulated to around UGX 2.1 million by September.
Outside, Kirabira’s ordeal, another senior player (names withheld) faced ridiculous abuse when he tried to demand his wages with his son bedridden in hospital – this was after the club had announced a mega sponsorship deal with betting company Melbet.
The player was blatantly told to ‘go look for other jobs to help him meet their expenses’. The abuse didn’t stop at that; one player was almost forced to play the first game of the season hours after the death of his son.
“Even when I joined, there were a couple of times we were paid late, but what struck me was how Nkugwa was treated by the chairman.”
“Maybe those were the signs. But we didn’t mind that and we thought the situation would be different from what he went through but now it’s getting to us now,” he explained.
In his first season at Kyetume, Benon helped guide the club to an 11th place finish and there was an indication that the club was on the rise.
It was an illusion and since then, with much of the affairs now being run like a ‘mafia gang’.
On Tuesday, the club played their second game away to Wakiso Giants and for the second game in a row, they blew away a lead as they played to a 2-2 draw at the Kabaka Kyabaggu Stadium.
The 2020/21 StarTimes Uganda Premier League season may be only two games old; the league table matters less, but how you get the season underway determines a lot how successful your season can be.
Mubiru and Kyetume ought to clean their house up and quick before the situation deteriorates further.