A tussle is looming between Tusker FC and Sofapaka after both teams entered into a contractual deal with international striker Stephen Waruru formerly of Ulinzi Stars.
Waruru is bound to find himself in trouble with Kenyan Premier League (KPL) over the illegal double-signing even as Sofapaka officials said they hope to enter into negotiations with Tusker to solve the issue amicably.
Waruru, who has been training with Sofapaka from December 28, is alleged to have signed for Tusker first before he further upended his sign for a two-year contract with Batoto Ba Mungu, in what has baffled officials from both teams.
Yesterday, Tusker Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Obiny confirmed that Waruru indeed penned a contractual deal with them but did not divulge other details including the duration. “We signed him (Waruru) but I cannot pre-empt what is involved because there is an impending case with KPL which in this case is a breach of rules concerning player transfer,” said Obiny.
Apparently, having realised that Waruru had signed another contract with Sofapaka and was training with them, Tusker did not unveil him among their new players in a ceremony held at Tusker Village early this week.
In the meantime, sources within Sofapaka intimated that Waruru signed a separate two-year deal with the team that came with a six-figure sign-on fee and three-month salary advance payment to boot.
“We unknowingly signed him and parted with a certain amount of money but if it is true he had initially signed for Tusker, it’s very unfortunate to say the least,” said the source.
It further said that to bring the issue to rest to the satisfaction of both teams, Tusker will have to reimburse the money Sofapaka paid to Waruru and then have the player. Reached for comment, KPL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jack Oguda said he only heard rumours of double-signing by the player but had yet to receive a formal petition from either Tusker or Sofapaka.
However, Oguda clarified that if it is proved that Waruru was in breach of rules, he will be liable to one year suspension according to the rules governing the game in the country. “All I’m waiting for is player signing documentation by both teams, peruse them and take appropriate action in consultation with the KPL League and Competitions Administrator,” said Oguda.
Meanwhile, Sofapaka coach Sam Ssimbwa said the latest development was a blow to the team’s playing unit, while advising Waruru on the need to observe the football rules.
“Waruru is one of the best new players Sofapaka had landed on but as a senior player, he should have known better the repercussions of double-signing,” said Ssimbwa. Besides Waruru, other new players Sofapaka has signed include Kepha Aswani, Elly Asieche and Ibrahim Kitawi.