It’s Soccer Laduma day, yes please! Have you picked up your copy yet? Share your thoughts with me, what’s your take on this week's Siyagobhoza?
We have news on Lehlohonolo Majoro, Francis Kone, Edward Manqele, Nyasha Mushekwi, Lerato Chabangu, Thulasizwe Mbuyane, and more!
In this week’s edition we encouraged our readers to join the Soccer Laduma Supporters Club, where they can read an exclusive interview with the CEO of Prosport International, Mike Makaab.
Makaab is the man who looks after a number of professional players, including the likes of Sibusiso Vilakazi, Andile Jali and Knowledge Musona, amongst a host of stars. Soccer Laduma’s Joe Crann caught up with the agent to discuss the current transfer season and why so few South Africans are moving abroad.
I hope you enjoy it.
The Money is good here...
Joe Crann: Mike, thanks for taking some time out to chat to us… Our first question is this, why do South Africans struggle to make it overseas compared to those from West/North Africa?
Mike Makaab: I think there are a number of reasons. Firstly, a lot of the players from West Africa go over at a much younger age, and by the time they are signing their first senior contact, they’ve already been in the environment for a number of years, and that helps tremendously. Also, in a lot of cases, it’s their only ticket out and way to earn money.
MM: Secondly, we live in a beautiful country where life is good, where the league is professionally run and where the money is good. So it’s always going to be a bit more difficult for someone in that sort of environment to want to leave and play in alien conditions.
JC: Yeah, that makes sense. And also, what is the biggest problem you encounter when trying to sell players abroad?
MM: The biggest issue is the expectation of the club regarding the transfer fee. I can understand that football clubs are a business and that clubs spend time and effort in development and giving players a platform, but if we’re being realistic about placing players in Europe then we need to realise that we’re competing against he South Americans, the Eastern Europeans, the Asians and, quite frankly, we haven’t done that well on the international stage.
MM: For us to be expecting high transfer fees is probably the major factor preventing a lot more players from making it over to the European leagues. For our better players, the transfer fees are too high, and to compound that, a lot of the smaller clubs in Europe can’t afford to match the wages they earn in South Africa.
JC: And what sort of wages are we looking at with regards to teams in Belgium etc?
MM: At a good level in Belgium and Portugal, or a lower level in Spain, they can probably pay somewhere between R3,000,000 – R5,000,000 net. For some of your top earners in South Africa, they are already earning that here with bonuses etc.
JC: Who do you think is South Africa’s greatest footballing export? Not necessarily someone that you’ve been involved with…
MM: For me, it’s still Lucas Radebe. He played in England’s top league, for a really good club at the time, captained them and played consistently at the top level and was, still is, a hero there.
JC: And the most disappointing one?
MM: OJ Mabizela. I love him to bits, he’s like my son, but he knows as well as I do that, if things had gone differently, he could have played anywhere in the world, anywhere.
JC: You say you rank Lucas as Mzansi’s best footballing export, but what about your personal favourite of the deals that you’ve been involved in?
MM: Every single deal that I’ve done overseas is very close to my heart, because it’s an opportunity given to someone who has had the drive and ambition to play overseas. However, the one that will always remain closest to me was the first one we ever did. Siyabonga Nomvethe from Kaizer Chiefs to Udinese in the Serie A.
JC: And finally, what’s the strangest request you’ve had from one of the players you look after?
MM: I get all sorts, but the weirdest I think I’ve had was when a player asked me to organise garden service to cut his lawn for him while he was away.
JC: Ha. Brilliant. I'm sure the readers here in the Supporters Club will appreciate you taking the time to talk to them. Thanks ever so much mate, cheers.
MM: Pleasure Joe. Anytime.