Today an average PSL player earnsR40, 000 a month. The highest paidplayer in the PSL is Itumeleng Khunewho earns around R6, 8 million a year, that’saround R560, 000 a month! Now, the BotswanaLeague with new investors in local clubsis trying to become a professional set up, andwith clubs reportedly paying up to P20,000 amonth, sign on fees have reached P100,000!Expect a change of landscape; it meansmore of the so called ‘reject players’ fromSouth Africa will follow Benedict Vilakazi tothe Botswana Premier League. South Africawith 52 million people has more competitionat professional level. There are 1200 professionalsoccer players in both PSL and 1st Division.It is tough; imagine the boys in Langa, inMapetla in New Brighton, in Mdantsane andHeidedal.
Everybody wants to be like BenniMccarthy.In the past these so called reject brigadewent to Mozambique where they were paid$3,000 a month which translates into R30, 000a month; meaning life is not that bad. Thereare so many of them across the world notablyin Vietnam and Thailand, because there isnot much competition there and what they dowith the ball is deemed impossible. For themit is about the last pay cheque while the silverwaredoesn’t matter much. In the process, theyoungsters in the development ranks are sacrificed for a top earner who’s also a foreigner.I am worried that soon our clubs will beinfested with old South African players rangingbetween 30 and 35 years because of theirnames.
These players are rejected for variousreasons; age, weight or wayward behavior,some because they have nowhere to go becausethey did not save prudently during sunshine.I fear for my local boys who work hardat Mosanta whose dream is to play for CentreChiefs or any local club they supported andworked so hard to see themselves play for it.The boys in Tswapong who have put Rollerswhere it is today will no longer be givenspace because a former PSL star that they usedto watch on television has arrived at G-West.That is my fear. I am not against foreign players,my argument is that Zimbabwean andZambian players came to Botswana with ambitionand purpose, they wanted to go beyondBotswana. They come at a relatively goodage.
They do not come overweight and they donot demand astronomical amounts of moneybecause we do not have it; their eyes are on thePSL. They simply have to play well and theywill get a professional contract elsewhere.Vilakazi gives us a very good mileage, andfor Notwane it is a good marketing strategybut this is bad for their renowned developmenttradition of making sure talent identifi -cation takes precedence. I have no doubt thatVilakazi will play well. I always say since the1995 Champions League winning squad, Pirateshas only had two extra ordinary soldiersin Thabo Mngomeni and lately Tso Vilakazi. Ijust hope and wish the circumstances in whichwe train, the form of travel and lodging doesnot dampen his spirits. He is an extra ordinarytalent who made mistakes in life and our playersmust learn from him. My biggest fear isthat Botswana is not Qatar; we do not havemoney to make our League retirement village.Our focus should be to develop players betterthan Tsotso Ngele!