Friday, 28 February 2014

EXCLUSIVE: how Majoro: a prisoner of his own footballing talent, was freed by the SAFPU

BOLLOCKZ! Lehlohonolo Majoro
Left out of the starting line-up, week after week. Forced to train alone at the Nike Football Centre in Klipspruit, Pimville. Not paid by his club, who refused to release him from a contract which ends in June. A prisoner of his own footballing talent.

That, in a nutshell, was the grim story of Kaizer Chiefs striker Lehlohonolo Majoro – and all because the 27-year-old Bafana Bafana striker had taken his career into his own hands, opting to join Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates rather than SuperSport United in a swap deal as his agent had agreed (or Mpumalanga Black Aces on a loan deal).

But then along came freedom and justice… in the form of South African Football Players’ Union president Hareaipha “Simba” Marumo and his all-conquering Disputes Resolution Chamber.

Marumo, speaking on my football show BOLLOCKZ! on (see video below), made it very clear exactly why Lehlohonolo Majoro IS permitted to restart his career WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

Despite reports from some quarters – including the respected Mark Gleeson in the Sowetan newspaper – claiming Majoro would not be able to play for the rest of the season as he departed the AmaKhosi “by mutual agreement”, Marumo insisted: “Lehlohonolo is now able to join the club of his choice. He had a couple of problems with Kaizer Chiefs unfortunately. They forced him to train on his own and suspended him without pay.

Iron Hand Shake: Taken at the same time as this interview
took place, Majoro said: “I am pleased to have
 joined Pirates, a club with a rich and proud
 history. I want to tell the supporters
 I will don this jersey with pride and I look
 forward to making them happy in everything I do.”

“That was unacceptable, there are rules in these situations, it’s a definite breach of contract right there. The remedy was that he should go to the club of his choice and be paid what he is owed. With the understanding that he would become a free agent, we were able to come to a settlement.

“We represented Majoro as a member of SAFPU. Rule 28.4 is quite clear, if the Dispute Resolution Committee Rule 28.4 is quite clear, if the DRC makes a ruling on breach of contract, that player is a free agent.

“The Sowetan article talked about a player who came to a mutual agreement, outside the DRC. That player would not have the right to play for another club until the next transfer window or until his contract finished.

“In this particular case, a player can only be suspended with full salary if there has been a disciplinary hearing. Majoro’s case was a clear breach of contract.”

When I put it to him that South Africa football agents and club treat fans and some players like idiots Marumo added: “Thanks for raising that. There was NO AMICABLE AGREEMENT with Kaizer Chiefs. SAFPU believes clubs cannot treat players like this.

“There’s a disappointing culture in this country where players are treated as second class citizens. If a player has to train alone, his security is compromised. Anybody could have gone to Klipspruit and hurt Majoro.

“We want to encourage and call on the football clubs in the country to move away from this kind of treatment of the players. These are people who make football what it is. They must be treated with the respect they deserve, we have the responsibility to build this country, our kids look up to footballers.

“How we run the game is CRUCIAL to the future generation, they shape their thinking with heroes. We cannot just talk about being profitable, the legacy of the game rests in the dignity of the players. Nobody sees the wallet, they see the footballers.

“Players have to treat themselves as brands who can make a difference in South Africa. Then we can build a football culture we can be proud of.”

When I asked Marumo if the agent has the right to dictate where a player goes, Simba – himself a former African Champions League finalist with Mamelodi Sundowns – said: “Absolutely right Neal, the player employs the agent. He pays the agent. Some agents have issues with me. I’ve parted ways with agents in the past.

“The agent is my employee, on my pay roll. That’s the only way it can work properly. For young professionals out there: The agent works for the player, not the other way around.

“If a player feels his career will flourish at a club different to the one his player wants to go to, it’s his decision. It’s important the player makes the decision which will benefit his very short career.”

Marumo, a popular analyst who will be working for SuperSport at Ajax Cape Town this weekend, concluded: “Thanks for the opportunity to raise these issues. We are there for ANY player who comes for us.”

Today Dr Khoza offered this advice to his new striker on the Orlando Pirates official website: “I hope everything goes well for you here at the club. Do not try to go out to prove a point or be angry with people. Anger takes us nowhere.

“The late President Nelson Mandela taught us a great lesson. He never got angry despite everything he had to go through in his life. We cannot waste energy by getting angry and cause problems; instead, that same energy should be channelled into making peace.

“Angry people lose a lot in this life,” Dr Khoza continued. “This should be a new beginning for you and hope you make the most of this opportunity you have here at the club.”

Majoro responded: “I just had my first training session with the guys and it feels like home. I am thankful to the Chairman for giving me the opportunity to join Orlando Pirates. His words of encouragement are priceless. I will work hard to repay the faith everyone here has shown in me."

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