THE secrecy around sportspersons’ salaries and earnings in Zimbabwe has been around for decades but as the world of sport has developed into big business, that veil is slowly being lifted and these issues are becoming more transparent.
Last week Standardsport revealed how Warriors captain Knowledge Musona was earning over US$1 million annually (excluding bonuses) at Belgian Pro League football side Anderlecht despite his struggles at the Brussels club.
The revelation has sparked interest while reviving the debate around who are the highest earners among the current generation of Zimbabwe’s leading sportspersons.
In the past the bracket of Zimbabwe’s highest earning sportspersons was dominated by top athletes such as former world number one golfer Nick Price, tennis siblings Cara, Wayne and Byron Black and former Warriors striker Benjani Mwaruwari, who all earned millions of dollars in salaries and prize money at the peak of their athletic prowess.
A new generation of high-earning Zimbabwean sport stars has been emerging recently and despite the current climate of pay cuts‚ general stagnation and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, Standardsport did a bit of digging to establish the facts.
Below we came up with a ranking of the top five highest-earning Zimbabwean sports stars based on their salaries and incomes this year.
1. Marvelous Nakamba
Following his breakthrough move from Belgian side Club Brugge to English Premiership side Aston Villa last August, Nakamba became the country’s highest-paid footballer. Villa signed Nakamba on a five-year deal from Club Brugge for a reported €12m fee on August 1 last year. The Zimbabwean midfield enforcer is reported to be earning £55 000-a-week (around US$66 000) according to the respected football website Football Insider. Nakamba and his Villa teammates recently agreed to take a 25% pay cut for the next four months due to the financial impact of coronavirus, but despite that he still stands head and shoulders above the rest in Zimbabwean sport.
2. Knowledge Musona
The Warriors skipper is the fourth highest-paid player at Belgian topflight club Anderlecht, earning €950 000 (US$1 09 623) gross per year excluding bonuses, according to the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Musona (29), who is contracted to Anderlecht until July 2022, has already earned close to €2 million (US$2 191 766, 29) despite not being given an opportunity to prove his worth at the club. The former Kaizer Chiefs forward will effectively continue to receive around €79 000 per month (US$85 000) from Anderlecht for the next two years unless he finds a new club.
3. Scott Vincent
He might not yet be featuring in more lucrative United States PGA and European Tours where the world’s top golfers showcase their talents, but Zimbabwe’s top professional golfer Scott Vincent has been raking in tens of thousands of dollars on a weekly basis on the Asian and Japan Golf Tours. Vincent is proving just how financially rewarding the sport of golf is after recently surpassing US$2 million in career prize money since turning professional. Last season Vincent earned US$518 061) from 20 tournaments he took part in on the Japan Golf Tour. Additionally, Vincent also took home a further US$251 650 from 11 tournaments he participated in on the Asian Tour last year.
Vincent’s earnings this season will, however, be affected by the coronavirus pandemic as he has not featured in any professional golf tournaments since March.
4. Tino Kadewere
Warriors forward Tino Kadewere is the highest-paid player in the French Ligue 2, the second-tier football league in France. This follows a survey conducted by France Football magazine, which revealed the top 20 earners in the French second-tier league. The 24-year-old forward earns €720 000 annually. This includes net salary and other contractual bonuses for the 2019-2020 football season. This translates to about US$794 594 a year, US$66 216 a month and US$16 554 a week. Kadewere, who was recently crowned the French Ligue 2 Golden Boot winner after notching 20 goals for Le Havre, is set to move to Olympique Lyonnais next season after being recruited by the French Ligue 1 giants in January.
5. Khama Billiat
Billiat is reportedly the highest-paid footballer in the South African Absa Premiership, earning a mouth-watering R10 million (US$540 000) a year before tax, according to the South African sports website Sport24. The 27-year-old signed a three-year contract with Kaizer Chiefs with an option of an additional year. Billiat’s earnings translate to R833 333 (US$44 845,31) per month. Taking the tax-man into consideration — as South African footballers are taxed at 38% — Billiat is paid R515 000 (US$27 000) a month, making him comfortably the top-earner in South Africa’s top-flight.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane confirmed that the club could not meet Billiat’s financial demands, which prompted the star to join Chiefs.
What helped Billiat command such a high salary was his free transfer after his contract expired at Sundowns. This means he was able to negotiate a huge signing-on fee and salary. Billiat got social media abuzz in August when he posted his US$170 660 Range Rover Sport Lumma CLR RS, one of the numerous top-of-the-range cars that the Mufakose-bred star drives. In addition to the quintet there are several other Zimbabwean sportspersons who are earning huge salaries.
France-based Marshall Munetsi yesterday signed a new contract at French Ligue 1 side State Reims which is set to put him among Zimbabwean sport’s highest earners. Other top earners in Zimbabwe sport include former Warriors striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who has raked in millions of dollars in China, while defender Costa Nhamoinesu is reportedly on a lucrative contract at Czech football giants Sparta Prague. Former Zimbabwe cricket team captain Brendan Taylor, basketball star Vitalis Chikoko, motor racing driver Axcil Jeffries and England-based defender Tendayi Darikwa, just to mention a few, are some of the local athletes earning decently.