The hide & seek game of football player transfers


As the Ethiopian Premier League season came to an end as of 7th July, players extending their contracts at their current clubs and moving to new clubs under new contracts with hefty salaries are the hot issues being discussed among the football community.
Players are wondering how much they would be worth this season, while club officials are worried about the ever rising cost of players and Coaches are nervous whether their respective clubs would be able to afford the player they want to include in their squad.
All this uncertainty is said to be caused by a lack of a certain benchmark and above all the absence of rules and regulations written in black and white concerning player transfers.
Although it is hard to find official documents attesting to the fact, the former Dedebit player Addis Hentsa, who has now signed a contract with the Sudanese side Al Shendi, is said to hold the record with an unprecedented 700,000 birr fee for a supposedly two-year contract.
Still unconfirmed, Electric FC is said to have extended the contracts of Asrat Megersa by dishing out 600,000 birr for his continued services to the club for another two years and the new signing, midfielder Abdulkerim, for 500,000 birr under a two-year contract. It is also rumoured to have paid 400,000 birr for the Nigerian striker Samuel Shanumi for a single season. This is apparently in addition to the 3,000 birr monthly salary it is supposed to be paying all of them.
Commercial Bank had paid their Nigerian target man Philip Dawzi 400,000 birr for an 18 months’ contract.  Still unofficial, the richest club in the country, St. George is rumored to have paid 600,000 birr to Oumed Oukri for two seasons.
The commonly paid fee for a new transfer or contract extension is between 300,000 birr and 400,000 birr for a two-year deal. Three questions can be raised here; the first is that, has Ethiopian football grown to such an extent that it is able to pay such sums and the second is, do clubs owned by government institutions and regional states afford the staggering amount required to obtain the players they need or would they be forced to look around for leftovers from the three super rich clubs, St. George, Dedebit and Ethiopian Coffee, which are privately financed? If the three clubs are the only ones financially capable of buying the best players, won’t the Premier League title tend to become a three-horse race, as the three clubs were first , second and third in the League the past season?