Players' union leaves foot soldiers in the lurch

Black and white traditional soccer ball on grass
SOCCER BALL - Black and white traditional soccer ball on grass
Image: 123RF/ MTSARIDE

The only time one really hears any extended news about the South African Football Players' Union (Safpu) is when they elect new leadership. Everything goes quiet after that.

This union is almost run like a secret society where very little is known about its inner workings.

Tlou Molekwane, who was previously associated with Polokwane City, has become the third person who doesn't want to talk about "bad things" he experienced while at the club.

Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael said something similar a few days ago. Bidvest Wits forward Thobani Mncwango is another player who had a bruising battle with the club and he said very little in the process.

One doesn't have to be a genius to figure out that something is very wrong at that club.

This is why I have a problem with Safpu. For me, a workers' union should not only entertain workers who come to it with grievances, it should also actively seek to encourage fearful workers to speak out.

The fact that Mncwango and Molekwane don't want to speak out means they don't trust Safpu. The worst part is that Molekwane was released while injured, which raises questions of compensation. His story seems to mirror that of Ndumiso Vezi who was let go by Ajax Cape Town while injured.

It later emerged that he was paid a measly R5000 a month. Stories of poorly paid players continue unabated. Safpu needs to ask itself if it really represents players.

That the union hasn't confronted Polokwane City management means the club will continue doing this for the foreseeable future. The career of a footballer is short and fraught with risks. They need to be well paid.

Richardson Mzaidume