Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Are teams doing enough for their players’ welfare?

For many years now, several Premier League teams have been at loggerheads with their players for broken promises.

Before being recruited players would be promised the land of milk and honey where most things would be easily taken care of.

Later on, the players would find out that it was just mere talk to lure them to their respective teams. Some players would even go to the extent of boycotting training, saying no pay no play.
Other players would, however, continue playing regardless of what is put on the table.

Local teams have also for a long time been blamed for exploiting the players by giving them meager salaries, allowances and even signing on fees.
Teams, however, always defended themselves by saying that their only source of income is from gate takings and once games are not being played, there is little they could do to sustain the players.
There have been situations whereby even some of the sponsored teams with a large following have had players complain of late payment or being given half of what they should be getting.
In one instance last season, players from a certain largely followed community team stormed the office of one of the senior officers demanding payment.

On the other hand, it is rare to hear of players complaining about no or late payments at some teams.

Some such teams are institutional ones, like Township Rollers, Gaborone United and Uniao Flamengo Santos. Some people believe that the teams have players’ interest at heart and will always be there for them.

“The welfare of our players comes before anything else and we pay them according to our agreement regardless of the time of the season. You can even ask our players individually and they will tell you that they are well taken care of. We also give them incentives such as free accommodation and they do not pay for utilities,” said Somereset Gobuiwang, Township Rollers Managing Director.
Gobuiwang’s words were echoed by Gaborone United (GU) Secretary General, Kagiso Sebele. Just like Gobuiwang, Sebele would not reveal how much they are paying their individual players, but said the welfare of their players is the best.

“The reason you rarely hear any negatives about our team shows that the players’ welfare comes first. Just from their monthly salaries to accommodation, it is the responsibility of GU. Also at GU, we strive hard for management to be closer to the players to fully understand them so that many things are easily dealt with. We also have an open door policy where our players can easily approach us on whatever problems or challenges they face,” he said.

Sebele also added that they are reviewing the players salaries and their incentives to see how they can be improved. He added that since football is changing drastically on a daily basis, the team should also move with the changing times.
GU, on the other hand, is one team that looks serious in contesting for this year’s league championships.

Today (Sunday) they host defending champions, Mochudi Centre Chiefs, at the University of Botswana Stadium. They are yet to lose a game.
If what Sebele is saying is any yard stick, most teams have to watch out for the team that was once known as “the money machine” because it used to win almost all tournaments on offer.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.