Paying a PSL player R5k a month is almost a crime
I was touched by the article on soccer player Ndumiso Vezi that was published in the Sowetan recently.
The front page article stated that the 24-year-old was trying to maintain his fitness by playing soccer with youngsters in Folweni township near Durban – after a fallout with PSL side Ajax Cape Town.
Vezi is now financially dependent on his pensioner father, according to the article.
It was reported that the player was dumped by Ajax after surviving a hit-and-run car accident in 2013.
The club then requested that he pay back the R339 000 that was spent on his hospital bill and – around the same time – stopped paying him. It’s worth noting that, according to the article, the player’s contract stipulated that he would earn R5 000 per month in his first year, R6 000 in the second, R11 000 in the third and R12 000 in the fourth.
The first thing that got my goat was that there are still clubs that pay players such low salaries despite the millions being poured into local football these days.
The next thing that irked me was that the newspaper could reportedly not get comment from the club, as “chief executive officer Ari Efstathiou is currently out of the country”. The Sowetan then sent a request for comment to club spokesperson Milo Boer, who acknowledged receiving it, but did not respond.
There is nothing as frustrating as spokespeople who don’t speak!
The article is a window into how football players are still being exploited and have very little protection.
This is a challenge for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the SA Football Players’ Union (Safpu) should take such matters seriously.
Of course, they could well say the player is not a member of the union.
Even if that is the case, given the time they have had with the PSL at the bargaining chamber, players should be earning decent basic salaries by now.
Secondly, players should have benefits such as medical aid and insurance.
Ajax was Vezi’s employer when he was involved in the accident. Why was he not covered by the club’s medical aid?
Are clubs not insured against such losses?
While it is a matter between employer and employee, can the PSL not intervene, as the club is an affiliate of the country’s governing body for soccer?
The PSL prides itself on being among the best leagues in the world, so such matters would surely dent its image if not addressed?
I think the PSL should become involved in this matter with Vezi and ensure that all its rules and regulations are adhered to.
Furthermore, if the league is one of the best in the world, it should ensure that basic – decent – employee rights are adhered to, not only by the league but by its affiliates, that is to say the clubs.
City Press recently published a story in which Safpu president Hareaipha Marumo said some football agents did not deserve even a cent from players’ deals.
But if Vezi does not have an agent and is not a member of the union, Marumo’s organisation should still take up his case – even if on a pro bono basis.
Last month, it was reported that Polokwane City player Roggert Nyundu earned R5 000 per month.
This is the same club that, a few years ago, was accused of failing to take care of one of its players, Kopano Sekgobela, who was wheelchair bound.
Sekgobela was injured during a car accident involving a number of the club’s players – some of the players died.
An injury to one is an injury to all!