Saturday, April 14, 2018

Explained: Tendai Ndoro & Eric Chipeta's Fruitless Journey To The East!

All that glitters is not gold, Tendai Ndoro and Eric Chipeta had to learn the hard way after their hopes of making it in Saudi Arabia, one of the most promised football destination in the world in terms of financial stability, turned gloomy.

Former Ajax Cape Town and Zimbabwe international defender, Eric Chipeta recently returned from Saudi Arabia barely two months after signing for club Al Raed to join South African PSL outfit Platinum Stars, following another early exit from the league by former Orlando Pirates hitman, Tendai Ndoro who only spend four months with Al Faisaly before dumping the league to return to South Africa where he is now with Ajax Cape Town.

Despite not being one of the most revered football destination for an ambitious footballer, Saudi Arabia football league, like China, has become a heaven for many talented footballers in the world because of their financial liberation.

But this was not the case with the Zimbabwean duo of Ndoro and Chipeta who prematurely terminated their contracts with Saudi Arabian outfits due to breach of contracts by the clubs.

Ndoro terminated his contract with Al Faisaly after allegedly not paid his salary. The Zimbabwean forward only featured four times for the club with a goal to his name in his four months stay at Al Faisaly.

Chipeta who also returned last month from the middle east to rejoin with former coach, Rodger De Sar at Platinum stars, prematurely ended his stay at Al Raed after the club reportedly failed to pay his signing on fees.

The former Ajax Cape Town right back never featured for the Saudi Arabian outfit in his short stay at Al Raed.

It is true there is big money in Saudi Arabia, the league has attracted a number of foreign players to their shores due to the hefty signing on fees, but this has not been the case with every club in the league.

Most, if not all, Saudi clubs have had their issues when it comes to financial stability, particularly those in the top division, the Saudi Professional League. They tend to be semi-government entities, funded by various princes and honorary members to keep operations running.

Majority of these clubs face or have faced financial issues stemming from unscrupulous player contracts. That has led to players not receiving salaries and Fifa-led injunctions, spiralling into backlog of payments due to players and staff, eventually accumulating as debt. Then the respective “well-wishers” with an affinity to their favourite clubs come in and bail them out.

Many clubs have been hauled before the country's DRC after failing to honor their players contracts.

In the highest profile case, top division side Al-Shabab FC were ordered to pay their former goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah SAR 670,708 ($178,837) in settlement of outstanding dues to the player.

Saudi Pro League bottom half side Al-Batin were hit with a fine of SAR 5,000 and were ordered to pay SAR 569,000 in overdue wages for their former coach Khaled Al-Qoruni. The Sky Blues were also ordered to pay SAR 28,450 in legal fees. The club is also set to pay coach Nehari Al-Salem SAR 125,833 in outstanding wages within 30 days.

Although the Saudi government recently passed a law to allow the privatisation of the clubs in the top league to allow them to be independent and function as profitable businesses without burdening the state, but this reform is still far to be realised as many clubs are still dependent on government and well-wishers.


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