Malawi national football team players Dennis Chembezi and Khuda Muyaba face a 30 percent salary cut at their South Africa Premier Soccer League club, Polokwane City, as punishment for gaining weight.
The two joined the list of over 30 players who were found to have gained more than two kilogrammes (kgs) during a weigh-in exercise on Saturday.
Football remains suspended in South Africa, as in most countries across the world, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Polokwane City Chairman, Johnny Mogaladi, said the weigh-in was one of the measures that the club was implementing to ensure that players maintain their fitness during the lockdown period.
Mogaladi stated that the club’s executive committee met on Friday where, among other things, it was agreed that after the weigh-in, the players should report for temperature checks at the club’s office from Monday.
“Indeed we had a meeting on Friday. We wanted to clear up few things. During the meeting, we agreed that there would be no testing for Covid-19 until PSL [Premier Soccer League] makes an announcement for teams to resume training. So no training until an announcement is made by PSL.
“Contracts ending on June 30 can be extended on a month-to-month basis if both the club and the player agree. Players who have signed pre-contracts are still allowed complete the season if both the player and club agree. We also agreed that we will effect a 30 per cent salary cut on players who have gained more than two kgs,” he said.
Speaking from the club’s Limpopo base, Chembezi said the weigh-in was conducted as they expect a return to training soon.
Chembezi said results of the test confirmed that he and Muyaba were among the players who had gained weight.
“The truth of the matter is that it is not easy to maintain weight after staying three months without playing football. We have therefore asked management to consider us because of the circumstances. We will see what happens when payday comes,” Chembezi said.
Former Flames striker Esau Kanyenda, who facilitated the duo’s moves to the club, said this was not new in professional football.
Kanyenda said he would encourage both players to work towards reducing their weight and maintain their focus on delivering for the club.
“This is what happens with players on contract with professional clubs. It is all to do with discipline. If you are not taking care of yourself as a player, you end up being punished with such salary deductions,” Kanyenda said.
Chembezi and Muyaba signed for Polokwane in January this year from Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers, respectively.