PSL not blameless in havoc wreaked by TTM

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Justin Shonga of Tshakhuma celebrates with teammates after scoring the only goal agianst Baroka at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday.
Justin Shonga of Tshakhuma celebrates with teammates after scoring the only goal agianst Baroka at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The drama which has followed Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila since their arrival in the DStv Premiership has been nothing short of a publicity disaster for the Premier Soccer League.

From players being signed without their knowledge, contracts terminated at a whim, reports of unpaid salaries and squad members stranded at airports, TTM’s travails in the past few months make you wonder why, in the first place, they were allowed into the professional ranks.

It’s not as though the signs were not there. Suspicions that TTM’s management was always found wanting first surfaced when they were in the first division, where they reportedly could barely meet creditors’ demands.

Seven months after the PSL confirmed they had taken over Bidvest Wits’ status in the Premiership, TTM’s ownership has now changed hands again. We reported this week that Ditonkana Abram Sello has replaced Masala Mulaudzi as director of the club, with the deal awaiting final ratification from the PSL’s executive sometime this week.

For TTM players and staff, this might be some sort of relief, hope that the era of fruitless trips to the bank to check if salaries are in is coming to an end. They will also be praying that the new regime will bring with it a sense of professionalism in their set-up, where players would not be burdened with petty matters such as laundry, and wondering how they would travel to and from games.

All this controversy has beset TTM unabatedly for the past seven months, with the PSL noticeably silent. Perhaps behind the scenes, the league has taken action when confronted with reports that players are owed money. Perhaps the PSL did withhold some part of TTM’s monthly grants to direct it to creditors, as it normally happens when a member club veers off lane. We do not know. What we know, though, is that almost every week since they replaced Wits, TTM has brought nothing but shame to the league.

They announced Augustine Mulenga as one of their new signings, only for him to surface at AmaZulu a few hours later. There were fears their very first match of the season, an MTN8 tie against SuperSport United, would not take place due to registration challenges with some of their squad. 

The league must be called to account on TTM's shenanigans, which surely have brought the PSL into disrepute. Why was Wits’ status sold to TTM in such haste, when the Limpopo side had known challenges? Once Bidvest wanted out, were there no other investors interested in taking over? Why hand it over to the clearly out-of-depth Mulaudzi?

Now that they couldn’t prove competent in the elite league, TTM are allowed to abdicate responsibility and pass on a club that’s deep in crisis, having won just one match all season and wallowing in relegation misery. It’s a hollow investment for the new owners, who will inherit a demoralised dressing room. It will take a miracle to survive automatic relegation.

The PSL cannot be blameless in this mess as it should have done due diligence on the evidently spineless Mulaudzi when he acquired the Wits status.  We hope the league will not drop the ball this time. The new consortium led by Sello must produce not only financial guarantees and hardcore evidence that they can run a professional entity. They must also show they have interest of the game at heart and are in it for the long haul, not merely to get a quick buck and sell on a few months from now.

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