THE South African Football Players Union has come out in full support of the Premier Soccer League's plan to curb the use of professional players in off-season tournaments.
This was after PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza said they wanted to come up with stringent measures to end the abuse of players by the organisers of those competitions.
This thorny matter, which has angered many club owners across the country, is expected to be discussed at the PSL executive meeting on January 18.
"We are totally disappointed by the behaviour of some of our professional players who participate in the off-season competitions," said Safpu spokesperson Elvis Sekgobela. "Everybody is well aware that the PSL has decided that the 2009-2010 soccer season will be a short one, very tight, to assist Bafana Bafana in their World Cup preparations.
"The festive season holidays give the players some time to rest, but we were shocked to read in Sowetan that most of them play in those tournaments.
"What makes it even worse is that we also have some of the Bafana Bafana players featuring in those tournaments, knowing very well there is a risk of sustaining injuries.
"It is our view as the players' union that there are certain people out there who are pursuing their own interests at the expense of the players," Sekgobela said.
The Bafana Bafana players who featured in such tournaments included Teko Modise, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Katlego Mashego and Itumeleng Khune. Other professional players fingered include Jimmy Tau, Tefu Mashamaite, Teboho Mokoena, Vincent Kobola, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Mandla Masango.
Kaizer Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung said they will deal with the matter in the new year. "I have checked with our players, they all denied that they played in a match in Limpopo but we will investigate the matter."
Players' manager Walter Mokoena has denied that his players Masango and Innocent Mdledle took part in a tournament in Witbank on Sunday. He also vouched for Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Happy Jele.