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Premiership clubs up in arms over DStv Compact Cup

17 December 2021 - 14:07 By Mahlatse Mphahlele and Marc Strydom
The Premier Soccer League allegedly did not consult teams before announcing a new tournament.
The Premier Soccer League allegedly did not consult teams before announcing a new tournament.
Image: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

Premiership clubs are concerned about injuries that can occur to their players in the DStv Compact Cup, and are disgruntled the Premier Soccer League (PSL) allegedly did not consult teams before announcing the tournament.

TS Galaxy chair Tim Sukazi went on record this week expressing his “discomfort” about the tournament, scheduled for the league's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) break in January. Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena indicated their technical team were not clued up on the tournament when it was announced by the PSL on Monday.

TimesLIVE spoke to officials from four more DStv Premiership clubs, all on condition of anonymity, who expressed dissatisfaction about the format of a tournament that sees four compilation sides drawn from players voted for by the public from four streams of four top flight clubs.

The officials — three chairs and another senior official — said from conversations taking place between top flight teams they believed there was a general sentiment of unhappiness at almost all Premiership clubs about the tournament.

Clubs are up in arms that a tournament that uses their players, whose salaries they pay, and who they need fighting fit to compete for surviving relegation, finishing in the top eight, or trying to win the title at the crucial death end of the 2021-22 season, was organised without their consultation.

“How do they expect us to release our players for this competition, which we don’t know much about? We were not consulted at all about this and we still don’t have the full details of how it’s going to work,” one official told TimesLIVE.

“The other question is: who is going to benefit financially from it because players are definitely not going to get much participating. The only thing this competition will do is put more load on players who have been playing two matches a week.

“We all know cases of Covid-19 are rising. I will not be comfortable releasing players to an environment over which I don’t have control.  What happens when a player comes back with a serious injury?”

Another official was uncomfortable that any of his players would be coached by another club’s coach and work under a different medical and fitness regime. Coaches of the four Compact teams are also voted in by the public.

“I have spoken to most club officials and they don’t like it. How can you have a situation where some of our players are going to be coached by a rival coach?” the official said.

“How do you expect a coach from particular team to work with players from clubs with which he is involved in a tight race on the log?

 “How experienced are these doctors, physiotherapists and masseurs who will be working with our players? Do they have experience working with elite athletes, and how are they going to load players?”

Another official said they would prefer to have their players resting during the Afcon break.

“This is a critical stage of the season and many teams had made plans for mini camps and resting programmes for their players. What if we had already arranged and paid for accommodation and related logistics for a midseason training camp elsewhere?”

With prize money of R1m, players do not stand to earn much from the tournament, while those in the losing teams earn less, or nothing, the officials said.

Clubs have been under pressure to give players a rest due to shortened preseasons resulting from the effects of delays in the 2019-20 season from Covid-19.

Another club official said: “I think I share the sentiments of most clubs that this should have been discussed at BoG [Board of Governors] level, where clubs could understand the motivation and rationale behind the whole thing.

“Players getting Covid-19 need time to recover. About one in four players who have Covid-19 can have long-term effects. The Afcon break could have helped teams through these conditions.

“The reality is while everything is done to appease the sponsors, the clubs are at the wrong end of it. I think here again we are giving more than we are getting. There has to be some kind of financial gain for the league and the broadcaster from this, but what about the clubs?”

The official said it was “totally unfair” the league had come up with a tournament that uses players of the clubs, who pay those players' salaries, without consulting teams.

Former Bafana Bafana medical doctor Mogoru Ntlopi offered a different view.

“It's like a player who is going to the national team. The national coach will deal with players according to what he believes will work for his system. These guys are professional players and they need to adapt,” Ntlopi said.

“Some of the concerns raised by the clubs are genuine, but when you think about a problem you must come up with a solution. They should be sitting down and drafting a memorandum with the PSL on how this is going to be done.”

PSL acting CEO Mato Madlala could not be reached for comment and did not respond to an SMS asking for reaction.


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