Takudzwa Chitsiga Sports Reporter
THE image of Warriors defender Elisha Muroiwa being handed $20 000 cash in signing-on fees in Tanzania, which was splashed on social media sites by an agent who brokered his move to ambitious club Singida United, has triggered a flurry of questions about the professionalism of some of the clubs in that country’s top-flight league.
The Zimbabwe international defender was photographed being given new $100 notes, amounting to about $20 000, by his agent who then circulated the image across social media sites.
But that image has sparked intense debate about the professionalism of the clubs which the local players have been flocking to in Tanzania with a number of local agents questioning the wisdom behind Singida United’s decision to hand Muroiwa $20 000 in cash, in a foreign country, and putting the defender’s life at risk.
“There is no doubt that this picture was in bad faith because it is a mockery of professionalism because professional clubs don’t splash such huge amounts of cash on their new investments, let alone letting those who are part of the deal splash the images on social media, when it’s very clear that this could have put the player at risk,” said one local agent who refused to be named.
“It was as if this was an invitation to thieves that ‘look, we have given this Zimbabwean guy this big amount of money in a country which he is not familiar with and you can go ahead and attack him and get your fair share.’
“It’s downright unprofessional because, as far as I know, most of these deals are done using the official banking channels and in Elisha’s case, since he is going to play in Tanzania, he would have been asked to either open a bank account there, based on the deal he has signed, where the money could have been deposited or the money could have been transferred into his bank account here in Zimbabwe.
“That is the acceptable way of doing business in such transactions because cash payments are tricky, especially for someone who is new to that country, and splashing those images on social media is dangerous because there are a lot of very bad people who scavenging the internet to find opportunities where they can strike.
“He could have been mugged in Tanzania and the club would have said that we paid you your dues and we don’t owe you anything or it could even have ended up very, badly because this is big money that we are talking about and there are a number of vultures waiting out there to pounce and get a share even when they don’t deserve it.’’
The same agent also wondered how Muroiwa, who is back home and could play for Dynamos until June, was able to take all that cash out of Tanzania.
“I’m not so sure about the regulations related to how much foreign currency you can move in cash, out of Tanzania, but I know that if it was in South Africa, it could have cause serious problems,’’ said the agent.
“But I don’t blame the boy really, he was excited by his move and his earnings, I blame the club and the agent for all this mess and it’s sad because it paints a picture of a league that is not professional even when it is awash with money.
“Elisha is not an ordinary player, by the way, he is a national team star with a huge profile and played all the Warriors’ three matches at the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon and a lot of people, across the continent, now know him.
“Because of that, he becomes an easy target because his face is familiar and you don’t expose him to danger the way it was done in that transaction in Tanzania.”
Sources told The Herald that the Tanzanian club’s leaders were unhappy with the picture.
“There is an internal investigation going on there right now and they have requested pictures of The Herald because they can’t understand how it came to this,’’ said the sources.
“They believe the image of the club has been tarnished and they are looking at the case and trying to find out why this was done and to whose benefit.
“They feel their player, too, was put at unnecessary risk by that move because they say he was in a foreign country and he could have been targeted by thieves and anything could have happened to him.
“Obviously, there is will be questions as to why the deal was conducted in cash and not through the proper transfer channels and it’s for the club to answer but I can tell you that the team’s bosses are not happy right now with what has happened.’’
On their official Facebook page, Singinda United did not publish the controversial picture, which has caused outrage, of Muroiwa showing off the cash in the company of the agent.
They showed images of Muroiwa signing his deal and also holding his new club shirt.
ZIFA refused to be dragged into the issue with vice-president Omega Sibanda saying he is yet to see the pictures and referred any other questions to spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.
“I am not in a position to comment at the moment as I have not seen the pictures. I am yet to see them,” said Sibanda.
Gwesela said he couldn’t comment either.
“I am not sure of what you are talking about and I am not in a position to say anything at the moment. I can help if you can send me the pictures so that I can see them.
“We also no longer have player agents but rather player representatives,’’ he said.