When he penned a contract with Kgatleng giants in June last year, Kereeditse ‘Forest’ Maphane was hopeful that his football career would change for the better having experienced painful and stressing times at Nico United and ECCO City Greens.
He came to Chiefs after an invitation by his close friend Patrick Lenyeletse who was at the time in the books of the former League champions.
“When Lenyeletse invited me to come and try my luck at Chiefs, I came there with a positive mind. I had belief in my abilities though I could tell that some of the officials did not believe in me since I was not a big name player. That did not bother me because I knew what I was capable of and I was prepared to work hard to show them that I’ve the qualities. That is why I agreed to sign a contract with the club though they told me that I’ll have to look for accommodation for myself. It came as a shock because other players were living in houses which were organized by the club. That didn’t bother me because much because I was willing to die for the club,” said an emotional Maphane.
The dreadlocked star was then offered accommodation by his then teammate Lenyeletse since he was the one who invited him for trials. He further pointed out that everything at Magosi went well until January this year when the club started deducting P2,000 from his salary without any explanation.
“I was enjoying my football when that (deduction) happened and when I enquired about it I was sent from pillar to post. At a later stage I was told that the money was deducted because I was sharing with Lenyeletse. I took the matter Mclean Letshwiti (Chiefs’ board director) and he instructed the club to refund me. They did refund me but when the deduction once again happened, I realized some people were pushing me out,” he added.
The Letlhakane-born player said he once again tried to take the matter up with Letshwiti but no avail as the businessman was always unavailable. Even efforts to sort out the matter with the club’s administration bore no fruit until he took a decision to quit the club and relocate to his home village.
“It was frustrating for me to continue bothering people. I could not manage to continue playing football when I wasn’t happy. You can imagine what the P2,000 deduction per month did to me because it was almost half of my salary. What made it worse was that though I signed a contract with the club, the Premier League did not have a copy of it. I felt dumped and useless though I was committed so much to the club,” the teary Maphane continued.
Now back in his home village, Maphane said that he has been trying to make ends meet though he admits that it is tough. But he has vowed to give up because life has to go on.
“Through football I’ve been to hell and back. I doubt if I’ll ever play competitive football again because of my experiences. Since I’m a boilermaker by profession, I think that is the field I need to concentrate on. My experience in football has rubbed me the wrong way,” Maphane said.
When approached for comment, Chiefs’ publicity officer Clifford Mogomotsi said that Maphane is their players and they are disappointed that he went AWOL.
“We don’t know where he is but he should know that he has a contract with us. As a club, we value him so much and we shocked by his disappearance. If he was not happy about something and wanted to move on, he must have sat down with us just like his friend Lenyeletse. He must know that f there is any club which will need him in the future, they’ll have to come to us because he has a contract,” said Mogomotsi.
The Chiefs’ mouthpiece said that they had to deduct a certain fee from the player because he was staying in their house. He did not want to confirm or deny that the copy of Maphane’s contract was not with Premier League office.
Botswana Premier League (BPL) chief executive officer Bennett Mamelodi was not in the office on Friday and could not confirm that Maphane’s contract was not in their files. But he managed to shed light on what could happen if indeed it was true.
“It is a civil matter before the Labour Court but the player should not have gone home. The best way for him is to seek recourse before the Premier League Status Committee. Chiefs will have to explain why the player’s contract is not available at our offices. The precedence has already been set with the case of Notwane and their former players Shakes Ngwenya and Benedict Vilakazi,” said Mamelodi.