Let’s hope Motsepe’s democratic posturing pays off for players
The official website of Mamelodi Sundowns lists Peter Manda, Steve Mashalane, Dr Rejoice Simelane, Advocate Andrew Matube, Dan Simelane, Andre Wilkens and Sandile Langa as the club’s directors. According to Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe, these are the people responsible for the club’s atrocious policy on loaning out players, a policy that has come under severe criticism recently.
Part of the policy is that players loaned out to other clubs are not allowed to play against the Brazilians. Many have said this is unfair competition as it weakens the other clubs in their quest to fight for the same honours the defending league champions are after.
Some critics have even gone further to say the policy flies in the face of fair labour practice. But in a moving address before dishing out more than R1.6 million in prize money to the players at their awards evening for last season, Motsepe put the blame squarely at the club’s board.
As reported by my colleague Mathews Mpete, the sports editor at Daily Sun and Sunday Sun, Motsepe said: “This is a key issue. I personally would like to see all our players play against us. But the Sundowns board believes we can’t have players on our payroll playing against us.”
This to me raised a question I hope some clubs and agents will answer: Do Sundowns continue paying these players while they are on loan, or do the clubs they are loaned to foot their salary bill?
Nevertheless, Motsepe went on to say: “In my personal opinion, and this will happen but only if the board can be persuaded, all the players we put on loan should be allowed to play against us.”
He promised to talk to the board and see if they can change their tough stance. He then added: “But then again, I can’t have people on the board and disregard their advice.”
What a democrat. It’s encouraging to see an owner who splashes his millions in funding a club, but is such a liberal he allows the majority to make decisions.
Club bosses by nature are known to be what Zulu people call “ondlovu kayiphendulwa” – dictators.
What a breath of fresh air this mining magnate Motsepe is.
He said he was aware that some players would like to prove themselves and show his club it was a mistake to loan them out.
According to him, such performances would be good for local soccer. “These are players of the future. If a player is a Sundowns player and not part of the coach’s plans, we should allow him to play elsewhere, even when that team plays against Mamelodi Sundowns.”
This statement created a further flurry of activity on media platforms, including the letter from a reader on this very page.
So, we wait with bated breath to see if Motsepe will be able to persuade the club’s board to change their policy and how long it takes him to do so.
We all know Motsepe is quite a busy man, but one feels this is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed, like yesterday.
It has indeed become contentious and has caused some consternation in football circles.
Recently, Maritzburg United coach Steve Komphela complained bitterly that he was not able to use the three players – Kwanda Mngonyama, Abel Mabaso or Sibusiso Khumalo – in their opening league match against Sundowns.
Komphela had a serious problem with injuries and some of the new foreign players not being able to play due to the new stringent home affairs employment regulations.
As if the soccer gods were out to prove a point, the Team of Choice held Bafana Ba Style to a 1-1 draw – at home, nogal.
Given what Downs coach Pitso Mosimane said when he waded into this debate, it should not be a problem for the club to let these players play against Sundowns.
“The only on-loan player who will come back is someone who is really better than what we have,” Mosimane told KickOff magazine.
So if these players are not better than what Sundowns have in their camp, they should pose no problem when playing against them.
In response to accusations that the club was destroying, or has destroyed, several players’ careers, Mosimane said: “We don’t want to kill players’ careers because some of the boys deserve to play. If you have done well and you are better than what we have, we will bring you back.”
Did I hear someone say actions speak louder than words? On another note, congratulations are in order for Sundowns captain Alje Schut, who walked away with R250 000 for being the club’s player of the season and R176 000 for being voted by his team-mates as players’ player of the year.
If a player is a Sundowns player and not part of the coach’s plans, we should allow him to play elsewhere, even when that team plays against Mamelodi Sundowns