Orlando Pirates part ways with star player after he refuses to take pay cut

21 June 2019 - 15:28 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates during a training session at Rand Stadium on March 12 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates during a training session at Rand Stadium on March 12 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates and Thabo Matlaba have ended their successful and long-standing relationship of almost eight years after the former Bafana Bafana defender refused to take a pay cut.

Matlaba joined the Buccaneers from Free State Stars in 2012 and went on to establish himself as one of the most reliable players but he recently lost his starting place with the arrival of coach Milutin Sredojević.

In a statement‚ Pirates confirmed that they have released Matlaba from his contract that was due to expire at the end of the month after meetings with club chairman Dr Irvin Khoza.

“On Tuesday 18th June 2019‚ Thabo Matlaba met with the chairman Dr Khoza to discuss his future at the Club. Dr Khoza confirmed to Thabo that his contract of employment was expiring at the end of June 2019 and asked him to come back with a proposal of his package for a new contract‚” read the club statement.

“On Thursday 20th June 2019‚ Thabo Matlaba met with Dr Khoza as agreed and at this meeting‚ which was also attended by the financial manager‚ Thabo explained his personal situation and advised that he is not able to reduce from the current package that he is on.”

The statement further explained that Khoza was not in a position to keep Matlaba on the same salary scale because of his reduced contribution to the team.

“Dr Khoza explained to Thabo that the club is not in a position to pay high salaries to players who are not playing regularly. Normally‚ Dr Khoza would release these players at the end of the players' contract but in Thabo’s case‚ as he has a special place for Thabo and also because Thabo has served the club so professionally and led by example as a captain over the past seven years‚ he has not done this and has specifically asked the player for his input.”

“Thabo confirmed that he is not able to take a reduction and requested the club to issue him with a clearance so that he can be released from the club to find a better offer somewhere else. Thabo came to the office today to finalise all paperwork with regard to his exit interview from the club and that he will be paid all monies owed to him‚ including his long-service bonus‚ in terms of his current employment contract.”

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