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Polokwane's treatment of Rodney Ramagalela is amateurish

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Rodney Ramagalela, who has been iced out of football by Polokwane City.
Rodney Ramagalela, who has been iced out of football by Polokwane City.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The trend of local teams to mistreat players who opt to sign precontracts elsewhere is concerning.

From ascending onto the stage to pick up his Absa Premiership top scorer award, which he shared with Percy Tau, Rodney Ramagalela finds himself frozen out at Polokwane City, all because he has apparently rejected a new contract.

Pictures of a forlorn Ramagalela watching City's training sessions from afar have been doing the rounds on social media since his last match for club on January 5.

It's absurd that a player can be punished merely for seeking greener pastures. Last week, Highlands Park confirmed they had agreed terms with the striker, with the contract kicking in only in July.

But with the transfer window having slammed shut last week, Ramagalela remains inactive. He's not even allowed to train with City.

This is no different from torture. It's tantamount to solitary confinement. You see your teammates in daily training sessions, but you are not allowed to participate.

Yet before the current contract dispute, there had been no indication of disloyalty or ill-discipline on Ramagalela's part.

He has always come across as a true professional who gave his all. He's one of the few players who exude passion whenever they take to the field. His commitment has never been questioned.

Today, however, after playing all but one game of City's 30 league matches last season, and 15 this term, he's been told he can't train with the team.

If the club valued him so much, why didn't they offer him a better contract before the current one entered its final six months?

Elsewhere in the world players who refuse to commit to new contracts are sold a year or 18 months before it expires.

Ramagalela obviously accepted what he thinks is a more acceptable offer from Highlands. To bar him from team activities because of this merely exposes Polokwane as a bunch of unprofessionals, for whom players' wellbeing doesn't matter. It's sadistic.

There's actually nothing wrong fielding a player who's committed elsewhere.

Free State Stars did it with Nhlanhla Vilakazi last year, when he was on his way to AmaZulu.

Khama Billiat represented Mamelodi Sundowns right until the last day of last season, even as the parties reached a deadlock over a new deal. Reeve Frosler, meanwhile, has been released by Bidvest Wits to Kaizer Chiefs because he signed a pre-contract with Amakhosi.

Professionally, Wits decided it would be best for him to leave now rather than foolishly banish him from training.

We now read that Black Leopards captain Marks Munyai could also be banned by the team for not disclosing he signed with Highlands. What amateurish madness is there going on by Limpopo teams?

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