Wed Oct 18 07:36:29 SAST 2017
Tributes pour in for Wits student

Tributes have poured in for a 19-year-old Wits University student who committed suicide at the weeke.

OPINION: Moeneeb Josephs' emotional rebuke of his colleagues should be taken seriously

By Mahlatse Mphahlele | 2017-09-11 15:34:51.0

Moeneeb Josephs of Bidvest Wits during the 2017 Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Bidvest Wits and Supersport United at the Bidvest Stadium, South Africa on 25 April 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The time has arrived for everyone who loves sport‚ especially football‚ to think long and hard about the hard-hitting views expressed by an emotional Moeneeb Josephs on Sunday afternoon.

Josephs pulled no punches when he chastised some of his BidVest Wits teammates in a post-match television interview‚ going as far as scolding them for not pulling their weight.

Whether you agree with his actions or not‚ ‘SlimKat’ raises a valid point when he said some of his fellow professionals lack the motivation‚ hunger and desire required for success at the highest level of the game in South Africa.

Don't get me wrong‚ I haven't forgotten that the 37-year-old Josephs has himself been accused of failing to live up to the high standards he's now demanding from the younger players at Wits.

But I fully agree with him.

Granted‚ Josephs’ performances early in his career were erratic and riddled with errors.

But he made an effort to become better‚ improving his game in the 20 years he has been playing in the PSL.

So he is more than qualified to scold players if he feels they are shortchanging the sport that has given them so much.

Having been in the game for as long as he has‚ senior players like Josephs must be taken seriously when they point out worrying behaviour. The man has seen it all.

“This game has been great for many of us‚" said a tearful Josephs during the post-match interview with broadcaster SuperSport after Wits lost 2-1 to Cape Town City on Sunday afternoon.

"A lot of us we don’t have standard eight and nine certificates but we drive nice cars and we have beautiful houses.

"This game has been wonderful to us‚ so why don’t we give back to it by putting good performances week in and week out?

"We are lacking that and that is where the disappointment comes for me‚ we won the league and we should be even more hungrier but we are not there.”

The glaring lack of drive and professionalism is a countrywide problem and it exists in all levels of the game. The problems are not limited to Wits.

Over the years I have interacted with many players and club officials who all echoed Josephs‚ insisting that professionalism is a commodity that is in short supply among some in the PSL.

Most of the players and officials did not want to be quoted on the record for fear of victimisation‚ but they have admitted to the serious challenges they are faced with when trying to manage some.

There are stories detailing how officials are often called to police stations in the early hours of the morning to bail out players who have been caught on the wrong side of the law.

There are also instances of officials who have to deal with players arriving at training smelling of alcohol‚ failing to follow fitness schedules and diet plans‚ and sneaking in women at hotels while teams are in camp.

These are just some of the countless problems that Josephs was alluding to and he will have witnessed these misdemeanours first-hand since making his debut as a wide eyed 17-year old teenager for Cape Town Spurs in a match against African Wanderers in 1997.

Some of the players that Josephs was talking about were not even born when he made his debut but it will do them a lot of good to listen to a senior statesman who has seen it all.

The tears he shed during that television interview with Robert Marawa must not be in vain. - SowetanLIVE

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