Cameroonian player owed over US$13,000 by Maldives football club from 2009

A second foreign footballer has come forward regarding his mistreatment by Club Valencia in the Maldives, claiming that he is still owed US$13,610 by the club since 2009.

Cameroonian national Nkemi A Rim Marcelin was signed to the Maldivian football team from 2007 to 2009, but left after he was allegedly unpaid for a total of five months.

Marcelin’s pay dispute mirrors that of another African player, Wright Charles Gaye, who was signed to Club Valencia in 2012.

On Sunday (March 10), Minivan News reported that Charles had been forced to stay in Male’ for six months whilst waiting for Club Valencia to pay him his remaining US$2,600 salary and a promised one-way ticket home to Liberia.

Unlike Charles, Marcelin was able to leave the Maldives despite being owed over US$13,000, after his new club Becamex Binh Duong Football Club in Vietnam paid for his flight out of the country.

“I feel very, very sad for the club [Valencia], I had helped to win cups in the Maldives, but they are still saying they cannot pay me my money,” Marcelin told Minivan News.

“The club’s management said they would send me all of the money in Vietnam, but I have not received anything yet,” he added.

According to Marcelin, he is still owed US$10,210 from January 2009 to May 2009, as well as a one-way ticket home worth US$1,500.

A number of emails obtained by Minivan News detailing contact between Marcelin and Club Valencia officials from 2010, show the Cameroonian striker pleading with team management and Football Association of Maldives to rectify the problem.

In a message addressed to both the former general secretary of Club Valencia Mohamed Ahmed and the club’s former Chairman Ahmed Saleem, Marcelin claims they had promised to send the money to him 10 months ago.

“I’m not good [at] this moment because my father is sick in Cameroon [and] I don’t have [the] money to give for a hospital,” reads the message, dated March 2010.

A single response sent on March 2010 from Club Valencia’s former Chairman, Saleem, reads: “Thank you for your mail. Sorry for being able to answer your call. I will try to settle your outstanding [payment] ASAP.”

Despite later pleas for the club to pay half of his owed salary for his father’s treatment and a complaint to Football Association of Maldives (FAM) – the most recent dated from February 2013 – Marcelin has received no response.

Club Valencia’s current Chairman Ibrahim Raai Rasheed was not responding to calls or text messages from Minivan News at time of press.

Football Association of Maldives

In regard to Marcelin’s complaint, FAM General Secretary Mohamed Hanim stated that the issue should have been addressed by the former FAM administration.

“We are a new administration that came in on January 26 this year. As soon as I receive a complaint on my table, I will address that problem accordingly.

“FAM will always stand for the rights of players and the clubs. If there is a player [who has a complaint] they should follow procedures for it to be addressed,” Hanim told Minivan News.

When asked if there was any concern from FAM regarding rumours that certain clubs were taking away the passports of foreign players, Hanim said: “We will not taken action on speculations and rumours, instead we take action on matters documented by players or the club itself.

In regard to the rights of players, the FAM Secretary said that the topic will be on the agenda for next Executive Committee meeting.

“The next meeting will involve discussing in more detail what actions we can be taken in regard to mistreatment of players.

“The meeting will highlight the rights of both foreign and local players and that they should be dealt with in a manner that could be regarded as inhumane. This goes for every club,” Hanim said.

Had to survive off handouts: Wright Charles Gaye

Former Club Valencia striker Wright Charles Gaye was finally able to return home on Sunday (March 10) after six months of living in poverty in Male’.

Charles, who resigned from Club Valencia in September 2012 due to a lack of salary, was left stranded in Male’ as he waited for two month’s worth of salary from the club and a promised one-way-ticket home.

Speaking to Minivan News the Liberian national said that he had been forced to live in accommodation with no water or electricity and had survived on just MVR 500 (US$32.49) a week.

Club Valencia’s management stated that the reason behind the delay in Charles’ payments, was because there had been a delay in securing financial assistance from both the sports ministry and from the club’s sponsorship.

Media coverage of Charles’ situation resulted in Club Valencia paying him US$2,600, a one-way ticket home and an extra month’s salary.


Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid on official visit to Angola

Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid has commenced a three day visit Angola today in order to reinforce inter-parliamentary cooperative ties between the two countries, an African news service has said.

During his stay in the country, Shahid will meet with his Angolan counterpart, Fernando Da Piedade Dias dos Santos as well as heads of parliamentary groups of the national assembly.

According to a press note from the Angolan national assembly, the agenda includes official talks between the parliamentary delegations of Angola and Maldives, and an official dinner offered by the Angolan speaker of the national assembly.

The press note reads that Shahid will also visit the new city of Kilamba in Luanda, in order to learn about the national housing boosting programme.

Shahid is to return on January 9, according to the African news source.


Letter on prejudice

The origin of Maldivians has part of roots from the African continent. It’s been written in history books and is openly talked about by elders in some islands, especially one in Alif Atoll where the complexion of the entire community is 100 percent black and most people have curly hair.

For over thirty years, the African community has been very productive in various sectors of the economy and social structure in Maldives. We have Black African GM’s & Financial Controllers, Engineers, Doctors, Divers in resorts. The Red Cross / IFCR have were managed by Africans until Maldivians took over recently. The agriculture sector derives its consultancy from an African expert and a number of new resorts have been constructed by African engineers.

Every top football team, basketball team or volleyball team have Africans as key players and they bring joy to thousands of fans.

We are black and we are proud of who we are. It is not our choice to have the dark complexion and as human beings we consider ourselves similar to other races of people. As recently stated by one of the religious scholars, we are all the same and no one is higher than the other except the Almighty God.

TVM (Television Maldives) has publicly and openly mocked and disgraced the African race on its comedy clips last night during the Nigeria match. A few of us understand Dhivehi very well, and a number of us married to Maldivians.

It is shameful and prejudiced to suggest that our colour is a mistake from God. Something so horrible and bad, that we Africans are trying to become lighter, cannot be further from the truth.

I do not need to rewrite the ‘crude jokes’ TVM telecasted last night, however, on behalf of the African community in Maldives, we find such comments disgraceful, personal, racist, and this clearly show the unprofessionalism of TVM. We may be a handful but we play a major role in this economy and social welfare, and the least we or anyone could expect is respect for what we are.

We demand an apology, not written, but announced as this issue goes against our rights. No individual, body or government has a right to discredit or disgrace race, culture or religious beliefs of others.

Thank you.

An African living in the Maldives