Former Orlando Pirates defender Patrick Phungwayo hasn’t been able to find a team ever since he was released by Free State Stars back in 2019.
Phungwayo admits that savings for rainy days can only take you so far especially when it is always raining while admitting that he made some bad investments in the past.
“Savings don’t guarantee anything you know. Yes, I’ve made savings yes, but you can’t live with savings when you are 32. Savings are for beyond, or if you are retired,” Phungwayo told FARPost.
“We invest in things that we think will make us money only to find out we’ve invested in businesses that will actually make us lose money.”
Phungwayo reiterated that he did save money for rainy days during his time with Bidvest Wits, Pirates and Stars.
“I’ve saved money, we’ve invested but there are a couple of things that I’m doing in life, but you know everything is slow, it’s not like everything runs smoothly you get a salary every month-end,” added Phungwayo.
“You know it’s different when you work for yourself…so now you have to make it work. If you hire people you must pay them before you even make your own money. So, it becomes difficult because even if people don’t pay you, you must go to your savings and pay the guys so that they work you know.
“You need to adjust, become a normal person, work like a normal person if you have businesses invest your time in your businesses,” he said.
The former Pirates left-back went on to say that footballers do actually invest and look for ways to sustain themselves economically after their playing days.
“It’s not like we have not invested in anything. We do invest in different businesses actually, we try ventures with other people that are smarter than us, and with the hope that at least after football you are sorted,” said the 32-year-old.
“But like in any business nothing is a sure case. Obvious having kids, being married, is a challenge itself because now people who always depended on you, family, siblings, everyone depends on you.
“So, you have to make it at some point, even if it’s not that same salary you are used to, but you have to make it work,” he added.
With the Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship suspended due until further to the coronavirus, Phungwayo says he hasn’t retired from football and he is still looking for a team.
“I haven’t retired, but obviously as a person, you need to look at other ventures. This is our situation up until it becomes different one day.
“You know there’s nothing you can do it’s part of a human’s journey. So that I cannot run away from that everyone has to face this situation that we are in right now. So, let’s wait and see if we are going to get a team.”
Phungwayo is an experienced campaigner with over 200 matches in South Africa’s top-flight and three Nedbank winner’s medal.
According to the defender, keeping kit and healthy while in search for a club is not cheap.
“Even if you are training alone it costs money because you have to drive to where you are going, it’s petrol. You are not getting a salary from anybody, because at Virgin Active you are paying…you know everything is just money.
“So obvious somewhere somehow regardless of how you think you’ve saved, you will only know you’ve saved enough when you survive…like I’m sure I’ve been unemployed by how many months now? I’m going to a year.”
The Alexander-born defender embraces challenges and faces life head-on and says at the end of the day, he is just a normal person.
“Trying to make sure at home they eat, trying to make sure…it’s a situation that forces you to go and wear an overall in the meantime…So I’m one of those people that feels you have to face life…don’t be too desperate.
“Because if you are too desperate you can get a team now and agree to a R10 000 salary, which means still it doesn’t make your life easy. So, you need to weigh options uma ungumuntu [as a person].
“If we need to focus on business right now, let’s focus on business if I need to go wake up and wear my overalls, do what other men are doing every morning, let me do that, while I’m waiting you know. I’m not just gonna lie and say it’s easy,” said Phungwayo.
“Yes you invest your money but R1 million is nothing if you are used to getting a R100 000 salary, R2 million is nothing if you are used to that every month you know because there are debit orders, life covers and life insurance and all those things it’s money.
“Like they always say you need to plan for the worst and be ready for the worst. And right now, that’s where we are in life.
Phungwayo with his experience and success hopes that he will be able to get a team next season.
However, he said: “But like I said it doesn’t help to stay in Cape Town for a R10 000 [salary] when you are married because at the end of the day people will start looking at you and say there’s a salary, whereas there’s nothing that you are making.
“Even if I can get a team tomorrow, it must put food on my table, not the other way round where I end begging my wife for a R100. So that’s where I am in love right now.
“If I have to wear an overall and make that R5 000 so be it, but I’ll be around my children, around my family. I also feel like I’ve lost a lot of money investing in people and I’m sure I’m not the only one,” concluded Phungwayo.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi