Khoza plans players' cushy retirement

The days of local football players retiring penniless could be a thing of the past if the PSL enforces a rule that will see the league taking a portion of players' signing-on-fees and save it on their behalf.

This is an intervention plan that PSL chairman Irvin Khoza said he would pitch to his executive committee as part of future requirements for club licensing, a system that sets the standards for local clubs.

Khoza revealed on the sidelines of the 10-year anniversary celebrations of the multi billion rand PSL/SuperSport partnership that "the money that is paid out is good money, big money", referring to sponsorship cash injection into modern-day football.

He also acknowledged the presence of big investors in the domestic game - Bidvest Wits director and businessman Brian Joffe, as well as the equally wealthy Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe - saying "they brought a lot in incentivising the challenges".

Khoza, however, bemoaned what becomes of players when they hang up their boots, painting a sad reality of the many who saw fame but then went bust. "I'm going to put to the league [executive committee] to make it compulsory to take a portion of the players' signing-on-fee and put it away. They need our help," said Khoza.

On whether the cash-flow in football was reflected on the players' pay cheques or if the salary caps were coming closer to keep the league sustainable, Khoza said: "Apart from the salary caps we need to help our players to manage their funds properly.

"If you are 35 you're still young, but in normal corporate [world], you're matured. But in football you're old. If you've got another 50 years to live, how are you going to sustain that?"

"That's why we have psychopaths, schizophrenics, because they can't deal with the world and everybody is running away from you. I want to change that; for players to make a hard decision. But in the future they'll say 'chairman, you and your executive came up with a well- thought-out intervention'," he added.

The idea was welcomed by some of the current and former players such as Ajax Cape Town midfielder Lebohang Mokoena and the recently retired Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi.

Mokoena is hoping that their generation can tell a better "life after football" story. "It is a perfect time to execute such a plan because the PSL has the resources to kick-start it. My life is structured such that I have investments in place. The chairman [Khoza] has always encouraged us to save when I started my career at Pirates," said Mokoena.

Meanwhile, the SA Football Players Union (Safpu) general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe said: "We think the idea is good because it is the very same proposal that we [Sapfu] put before the league long time ago. But we'll find comfort if they [PSL] do it properly," said Gaoshubelwe.

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