TP Mazembe proprietor Moses Katumbi slammed the Zambian national team players in his squad over their shocking lazy outing for the club warning he will not renew their contracts if their performance doesn’t improve.
Ghanaian players at the club Solomon Asante, Richard Kissi Boateng, Gladson Awako and Daniel Adjei have shown seriousness which has led to the fury of billionaire who gives a better pay package to the Zambian players.
The chairman of the DR Congo side ticked off three ‘influential’ Zambian players in his team, saying he is disappointed with their dip in form.
Katumbi warned the players who ply their trade at the club that they should not be surprised if their contracts are not renewed.
Without mentioning names, the DR Congo mogul said the performance of Zambian players in his team, despite being given the best conditions of service was not impressive.
Katumbi said the Zambian players had of late shown lack of seriousness especially in training and this had affected their performance during games.
The players on the Mazembe pay roll are Jonas Sakuwaha, Given Singuluma, Nathan Sinkala, Hichani Himoonde, Rainford Kalaba and Francis Kasonde who are all regular features in the Chipolopolo squad.
Defender Stopilla Sunzu, however is not on the list.
Katumbi said in an interview at his residence in Lubumbashi on Thursday that he should not be blamed when TP Mazembe does not give Zambian players a chance to feature in games because they were not serious as before.
“I got a lot of Zambian players who came here and I give them the best salaries; maybe in the whole of Africa, and you saw their performance in Gabon where they got the African Cup. It was because they were training everyday, but now you can see the performance of the Zambian players,” Katumbi said.
He attributed the 2012 Africa Cup victory to the effort that players were putting during trainings.
He said only Sinkala, Kasonde, Singuluma and Sakuwaha had shown their dedication to training and that they were serious players.
“It’s up to the Zambian committee to talk to the Zambian players, because their performance is very bad. I don’t know, maybe they think they have arrived,” Katumbi said.
On Kalaba, who was spotted in Lusaka on Thursday night and was reported to be injured, Katumbi hinted that he had advised him to be focused as his performance was going down.
He said regarding his injury, he advised him to remain in DRC, so that he could get treatment.
“We have the best medical facilities for players here. It is the best facility in all of Africa, which other African team players also use, but Kalaba opted to go to Zambia,” he said.
Katumbi said the team recently signed a new contract with a new coach.
The new coach is the former Mali National team trainer while the former coach now becomes the technical director.
He was saddened that most of the best African players prefer going to Europe simply because of lack of sponsorship from their countries.
He said he would consider pleading with various Governments in Africa to consider sponsoring footballers in their countries to retain best players that Africa has.
He said this was the reason why most African clubs cannot win the FIFA Club Trophy because the countries lose players to European clubs.A
He gave an example of Spain that won the recent World Cup, adding that most players play for local teams.
On Stophila Sunzu, Katumbi said he was aware of Sunzu’s desire to play in the English league and that he had no objection.
He said even when he sustained an injury, he offered to take him to Europe but Sunzu preferred to go to Zambia and that he was glad that the operation was successful.
He admitted that Sunzu was a good player who desires to go to Europe, but was quick to mention that he was free to come back to TP Mazembe if he fails to secure a place with a club in Europe.
He however, warned that competition at TP Mazembe was growing and that players had to fight for a place.