By James Bakama
AS star striker Emmanuel Okwi resumed playing for SC Villa yesterday, there were still unsolved issues over his status.
Tanzanian giants Simba, who early this year sold Okwi to Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel, insist the Ugandan is still their player because the North African club is yet to meet its transfer obligations.
World soccer governing body under its Player Status Committee recently cleared Okwi to play for Villa, a decision Simba is contesting because of Etoile du Sahel’s failure pay them $300,000 (sh756m) in transfer fees.
“For as long as Etoile du Sahel haven’t paid us the transfers fees, we have first claim on Okwi,” insisted Simba official Zakaria Hanspope after getting news that the striker was playing in Uganda’s top league for SC Villa.
Hanspope explained that after failure of the Tunisian side to clear the outstanding debt, they had accordingly raised a complaint with FIFA, who assured them that they were handling the matter.
“How can FIFA clear Okwi to play for Villa when our issue on unpaid fees is yet to be cleared?” wondered Hanspope.
But Villa have also accused both Etoile du Sahel and Simba of breach of contract.
“The Tunisian club failed to pay Okwi while Simba on its part also couldn’t remit the agreed 30% of the transfer fee to Villa,” said Villa manager Peter Nsaba.
FUFA Competitions Committee head Decolas Kiiza explained that the world body is against redundancy of players.
“FIFA released Okwi in this spirit. It particularly put in consideration the fact Okwi had been out of club action since June.”
Okwi started off his career with Villa in 2009 before being bought by Simba the following year for $40,000 (sh101m).
He had just gone two months into his second two year term with Simba when he transferred to Etoile du Sahel.