Ex-players sign deals

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

Business has started in earnest for the newly formed Ex-Professional Players (Pty) Ltd with the signing of partnerships with major companies in the past week, it was announced yesterday.

The players' company, which is the brainchild of South African soccer legends Kaizer Motaung and Jomo Sono, is aimed at looking after the interests of retired soccer players.

One of its interim executive members, Jacob "Bhudda" Mathate, said the company was now also planning to widen its membership to include retired referees and football journalists from print and broadcast media because "they also played an important role in South African football history".

One of the partnerships, announced yesterday in Sandton, was between the company and the Guma Group, an entrepreneurial company founded and led by Robert Matana Gumede, who was involved in soccer through Dangerous Darkies.

Gumede said: "Guma and Ex-Professionals have agreed that together they will pursue opportunities relating to the development and construction of 2010-related infrastructure projects, namely soccer stadiums, transportation upgrades and tourism."

Chesly Mostert, the group's chief executive, said: "Guma will work closely with the retired players in achieving their stated goals long before 2010.

"It will be a tragedy for our long suffering ex-soccer players not to take part [in] and benefit from the 2010 World Cup, while individuals who have never contributed to the development of soccer in our country reap the benefits that will flow."

Ex-Professionals also signed deals with Engineered Systems Solution and Icebo Development Planners, who are headed by Mario Ferreira and Dr Cedric Xulu.

They are involved in the industrial energy, IT, multimedia, engineering, project management and development planning fields.

The Ex-Professionals will be holding a meeting for those based in KwaZulu-Natal at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban on Sunday at 9am.