PSL players are not staying long in the game of late. They are very quick to vanish into thin air. People have attributed this to a number of things, with many blaming their agents. Some even went as far as saying that they (the agents) only care about players when they still bring in money, and leave them dry when they don't have money.
With that said, one would argue that even if there's some truth in that, the players are also old enough to take care of themselves and some still have their parents to help them with their money affairs. We did some digging to try to find out exactly why our footballers are not staying that long on the field of play.
The statistics indicate that, since the inception of the PSL in the 1996/97 season, 65% of our players don't play in the elite league for more than five years. This has got me thinking as to why this is happening. I have come to two factors that may contribute immensely to this problem. One, the lifestyle our footballers live off the field, partying and drinking heavily. Two, the age cheating. Remember, one runs faster when he's 20 than he runs when he's 30 years old.
When one takes a closer look at those who live a clean life on and off the field, you will agree with my sentiments. Let's take the late John "Shoes" Moshoeu, for example (may his soul continue to rest in peace). He graced our fields with excellent performances from his teens until he was over 40 years. Lucky Lekgwathi is another example of a footballer who lives a clean life and he had a very long career at Pirates as well. Most recently, you have Siphiwe Tshabalala, who went on to play over 300 games for Kaizer Chiefs, another one of the few who live a clean life.
What I think could possibly be the solution to this problem is we need to try to have financial advisers employed at all our teams, to educate our footballers about how they can save money and try to eliminate the age cheating from the game. If we can master those two things, then I think it's safe to say that we will have a stronger PSL and an even stronger national teams as well!
Ukuthula kwande bakithi