Ex-players' plight a concern

Phil Masinga's children Tatiana, Tinyiko and Sifiso during the memorial yesterday. /Veli Nhlapo
Phil Masinga's children Tatiana, Tinyiko and Sifiso during the memorial yesterday. /Veli Nhlapo

The crippling uncertainty and the financial difficulties that South African players often face after their playing days are over once again came under the spotlight at the memorial service for Bafana Bafana legend Phil "Chippa" Masinga at the Grace Bible Church in Pimville, Soweto, yesterday.

The 49-year-old Masinga lost a long battle with cancer a week ago.

Several speakers called on former players to unite and start working on programmes to help them live comfortably at the end of their playing careers.

They also asked government and leaders in football to help set up these programmes to ensure that players do not keep falling on hard times when they retire.

In response, South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan agreed to meet all the sport's stakeholders next Tuesday to further discuss the complicated topic.

"We had the same discussions when (Bafana legend) John 'Shoes' Moshoeu died in 2015 and we are talking again now," Jordaan said.

"We can't continue talking, we must sit around the table to have a proper discussion.

"I know it is a complex issue but we must start somewhere. Football is a short career and we must find ways so that our players are well-looked after when they retire."

Gauteng sports MEC Faith Mazibuko echoed the many speakers who took to the podium and also suggested that one significant landmark in the North West should be named after Masinga.

Masinga's long-time friend Monty Kekana urged former players and administrators to use this opportunity to address this contentious issue.

"There has been a lot of talk for a long time about this issue but nothing has happened," said Kekana.

"The time has come for everyone tofind ways of negotiating around this matter."

Masinga's erstwhile Bafana teammates Daniel "Mambush" Mudau, Lucas "Rhoo" Radebe and Mark Fish also called for unity among former players.

"This is a call for all the former players to come together and talk about how to deal with this," said Mudau.

The North West government also confirmed that Masinga has been granted an official provincial funeral, to be held at Khuma Stadium in Stilfontein on Thursday.

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