Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana hitman Katlego Mphela has decried the unreasonable overpricing of local players, pointing that it stifles players’ international careers and the progress of South African football.
Mphela believes part of the reasons South Africa is not exporting a lot of players to Europe is because of the hefty tags on local stars.
“Our players are too overpriced. It limits opportunities for them. Let’s say a decent club like Wolves come to South Africa and they want George Maluleka, for example, and you say you want R20 million. They won’t give you R20 million,” Mphela told FARPost.co.za.
“You think you have the best player here because of the fame but in Europe he is not known. They will tell you ‘we are giving you clauses and you will get the money as and when the player progresses’.
‘Most local clubs won’t take that deal. Then the club will go to Ghana and get a player but not the same quality as George. They train and improve him. Then the player progresses and becomes big,” said Mphela, who was once on the books of French side RC Strasbourg.
Killer, as the erstwhile lethal striker is fondly known, feels Bafana Bafana can do better if majority of players ply their trade overseas.
“Football wise, we are not yet there. Maybe what’s blinding us is the fact that the PSL is one of the most organized leagues in Africa. The truth is in order to improve our players, they need to go overseas. The difference between local and international football is experience. Most countries we played against with Bafana, our opponents will say ‘you guys have too much skill. Where do you play? They beat us on small things – basics and tactical discipline. Most of our opponents were surprised that we still play in the PSL,” said Mphela, who retired aged 34 in August this year.
Mphela reflected on his own frustrations of being denied a chance to return overseas. He once staged a stay away from training at Sundowns in an attempt to force a move abroad.
“I had a pile of offers from all over. How do you decline an offer from England with no trials? Earlier in 2010, there was a president who flew in from Turkey. He went to Sundowns offices.
“We (with my agent Glyn Binkin) met him in Midrand and he was like ‘those guys are difficult’. I went to trials at (Glasgow) Celtic while unfit and I was lost.
“Remember I was trying to compensate for the situation where I stayed away from training. You decline offers and send me on trial after injury. I still think people were trying to show me gore bosso ke mang (who is the boss?),” lamented Mphela, who scored 23 goals in 51 appearances for Bafana.
By Hosea Ramphekwa