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Arendse: Why Kekana, Shabba & Others Are Still Needed

Former Mamelodi Sundowns defender Wayne Arendse has addressed the issue of players over the age of 30 being shunned by clubs in the DStv Premiership.

Upon first glance at the free agents currently available in the league, the number of players over 30 - many of whom can still perform at the highest level, is astonishing.

The likes of Siphiwe Tshabalala Hlompho Kekana, George Lebese, Anthony Laffor, Aubrey Ngoma, Asavela Mbekile are just a few names who currently find themselves clubless as experienced players continue to be shown the cold shoulder by clubs.

Speaking to the Siya crew, Arendse, who has won numerous trophies at the Brazilians where he was a mainstay in coach Pitso Mosimane’s defence, has explained why clubs could benefit by keeping the experienced campaigners around.

“It is the sad part of South African football where once you reach that age, they all write you off, but you need the more experienced guys on the field as well as in the changing room, because they need to see if they need advice and not all the players can speak to the coach. Some of the players hide and it’s always good to have senior players around to talk to and I was like that. I spoke to Edries Burton, Jean-Sebastien Bax, Musa Otieno and asked them what I should do in certain situations, and they used to guide me because they also won the league before, and they have been there, and they also know. But I don’t think the clubs are into investing in that,” Arendse said.

“Yes, it’s good to bring the youngsters in but you need to bring them in gradually. It is also important to have these experienced guys around, where it’s almost like they are assisting the coach, because they know what the coach wants and they obviously instill principles like if you want to win trophies, this is the lifestyle you need to live, leave the other funny things that you are doing.

“Sometimes it’s the small things like talking into a youngster’s ear. He probably won’t take it from the coach, but he will take it from a [Hlompho] Kekana, he will take it from a [Siphiwe] Tshabalala, thinking that this guy played at a World Cup, he knows what he is talking about. If I don’t know what to do, I can ask him about something that I am struggling with, so those are the things that the experienced guys can bring to the team and we invest in the youngsters and when they perform, the club performs, and everyone wins. But it is a South African thing. It’s a trend and I just think it’s a bad one but hopefully the message gets out there and we will see players still being at the clubs in future to help where they can help,” he added.

Arendse, 37, has been clubless since parting ways with the Brazilians in 2020, but has maintained that he is not ready to hang up his boots just yet.

View the gallery to see veterans who are still available to sign with clubs! 

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