PSL play­ers bear the brunt of SA’s re­ces­sion

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­

Last month, Stats SA painted a bleak fu­ture when it re­leased the lat­est un­em­ploy­ment sta­tis­tics.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate in South Africa in­creased to 27.7% in the first quar­ter of this year, up from 26.5% in the pre­vi­ous pe­riod. It is the high­est job­less rate since the first quar­ter of 2004.

Ac­cord­ingly, the num­ber of job­less peo­ple rose by 433 000 to 6.2 mil­lion – the high­est since 2001. It would have been more, had Stats SA con­sid­ered the rate at which foot­ball play­ers are be­ing dis­carded by their clubs as their con­tracts do not get re­newed or they are sim­ply ter­mi­nated.

Con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent re­ces­sion, clubs are op­er­at­ing on tight bud­gets and are lim­it­ing their per­son­nel num­bers – re­sult­ing in more play­ers find­ing them­selves on the side­lines – as they try to pro­tect their bot­tom lines.

At the end of ev­ery sea­son, or just be­fore the new one, the PSL re­minds us on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions that it is first and fore­most a busi­ness.

With the 2017/18 soc­cer cal­en­dar al­most upon us, pre­sea­son train­ing camps are just around the cor­ner or have al­ready started for some, but a num­ber of play­ers are run­ning around des­per­ately try­ing to find em­ploy­ment.

Some play­ers will have a rest­less break as they strive to find jobs else­where af­ter part­ing ways with their cur­rent em­ploy­ers.

Many play­ers could find them­selves walk­ing the streets if they do not get new em­ploy­ment. They will have to go great lengths to beg and prove their fit­ness and tal­ent lev­els, and they risk be­ing taken for a ride and having their pre­vi­ous salaries cut.

Un­for­tu­nately, the queue is not get­ting shorter as some play­ers from pre­vi­ous sea­sons are still wait­ing for job of­fers.

But oth­ers could be for­tu­nate as they might get snapped up quickly af­ter be­ing avail­able on the mar­ket for free.

Most are leav­ing their clubs be­cause they have been deemed to be sur­plus weight and have not done enough to en­sure their stay.

From for­mer Bafana Bafana mid­fielder Teko Modise, who, af­ter spend­ing seven sea­sons at Sun­downs, was re­leased and is on the mar­ket for a new home, to lit­tle-known play­ers, the list is go­ing to swell as more clubs take stock and map the way for­ward.

Kaizer Chiefs will re­lease seven play­ers – their con­tracts will ei­ther not be re­newed or they will be re­leased from their agree­ments.

Siyanda Xulu and Camal­dine Abraw will not form part of Steve Kom­phela’s plans for the up­com­ing sea­son. Lucky Baloyi and Lewis Macha have also been re­leased by the club, while Eno­cent Mkha­bela will be al­lowed to join Plat­inum Stars per­ma­nently.

Zim­bab­wean at­tacker Michelle Katsvairo will be lent out next sea­son, while Siphelele Mthembu’s con­tract will not be re­newed.

Amakhosi are not the only side with a mas­sive clear­ance sale as other clubs have also re­leased play­ers.

Af­ter rel­e­ga­tion to the Na­tional First Divi­sion, it is not sur­pris­ing that High­lands Park have also dis­carded a few of those who failed to help them se­cure Pre­mier­ship sta­tus.

Baroka FC cut 13 of their play­ers, in­clud­ing Mx­olisi Kunene, Jacky Mot­shegwa, Siphamandla Sang­weni, Tshep­iso Li­et­sisa, Siphelele Zikalala, Helder Pelembe, Mn­deni Zikalala, Magoro Let­soalo, Khu­nadi Nkoana, Caswell Chauke, Ndi­vhuwo Ravhuhali, Thapelo Maleka and Nkosi­nathi Ogle.

Mean­while, Thanda Royal Zulu’s play­ers are un­cer­tain about the fu­ture. The club is on the verge of be­ing sold to AmaZulu and they do not know if they will be part of the deal or will have to look else­where for em­ploy­ment.

Plat­inum Stars have also let go of three vet­er­ans – Ndu­miso Mabena, Solomon Mathe and Tintswalo Tsha­bal­ala – to make way for new blood.

This is not the end of the process as more clubs are still tak­ing stock and may re­lease more play­ers soon.


FLY­ING NOWHERE Camal­dine Abraw has been re­leased by Kaizer Chiefs

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