FAILURE by clubs to honour salary and bonus obligations is luring players to take part in social soccer tournaments commonly known as a�?money gamesa�? in a bid to make ends meet during the festive season, a Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) official has said.
Usually played in dusty football fields dotted around cities and towns money games are football matches organised by individuals or groups of people where winning teams are rewarded with cash prizes.
In most instances the prize monies are not shared by players from the winning teams but are rather used to purchase alcoholic beverages and meat that will be enjoyed by the players.
Although contracted players are barred from playing in social soccer tournaments or any games that are not sanctioned by their clubs, going into the festive season penniless is forcing some players to break their clubsa�� codes of conduct.
a�?We know that so many clubs in lower divisions and even the Premiership are failing to pay December salaries or settle outstanding wages and bonuses but taking part in money games is not an answer for the affected players.
a�?Chances of picking up serious injuries are very high in money games because most of the players are not professionals but individuals interested in kicking around a ball, have a good time and will be in most cases under the influence of alcohol,a�? said FUZ vice-president Herbert Dick.
There is a flyer circulating on social media advertising a social soccer tournament pitting Victoria Falls legends against Hwange FC legends to be played in the resort town.
Players such as Highlanders striker Nhlanhla Ndlovu and Hwange attacking midfielder Gift Mbweti appear on the flyer advertising the proposed tournament.
A B-Metro Sport source in Victoria Falls claimed that Ndlovu was seen playing in a money game last week.
Organisers of the money games are keen on roping in well known players to give their tournaments relevance and also attract huge crowds.
a�?Clubs usually punish players that take part in unsanctioned matches by imposing heavy fines which ultimately hurt players financially.
a�?Clubs are encouraged to come up with training programmes that will keep players busy and fit such as weekly sessions at the gym during holiday breaks,a�? said Dick.