Johannesburg - I usually don’t take anything that comes from the South African Football Players’ Union (Safpu) seriously. The union is known as a toothless lapdog, always seeking cheap publicity.
But I told myself I should give them the benefit of the doubt on Friday after reading their latest press release.
What caught my attention was the serious allegations in the release.
The name Clifton Miheso won’t ring a bell with most South Africans.
Miheso is a Kenyan defender who joined Golden Arrows in July last year. But he has since left the club, albeit under mysterious circumstances.
According to Safpu, it is alleged that he was forced to sign his termination letter with a gun held to his head.
“It is with great sadness and an extreme disgrace to learn about the alleged incident that took place at the Golden Arrows offices, where it is understood that Clifton Miheso, who was employed by Golden Arrows at the time, was forced to sign a termination letter at gun point,” stated the press release.
This clearly means he signed the termination letter under duress.
According to the PSL’s rules, clubs don’t have to register five foreign players all season – from August to May – like before, they can now register and deregister non-South Africans during the January transfer window.
My conclusion is that Arrows wanted to free up space for a foreign player, so they had to terminate Miheso’s contract.
But he obviously did not consent to this.
Reports in Kenya claimed that guns were used to threaten the defender and force him to sign a document he had no time to read.
According to reports, Miheso sought refuge at a police station after two men pointed a gun at him and forced him to sign a letter.
The online free dictionary states that “at gun point” refers to under or as if under the threat of being shot. This means Miheso’s life was in danger and he had to follow instructions or else.
Threatening someone’s life is a serious allegation which needs proper investigation. The authorities should have investigated this matter the minute it surfaced.
The league and Safa, who are the custodians of football in the country, should have acted a long time ago. But, as is always the case, they have been quiet.
The country already has a bad image in terms of violence and incidents like these – right or wrong – add to our bad reputation.
This alleged act of cowardice and barbarism cannot go unchallenged.
It gives credence to those who believe football is for thugs and run by thugs. How else should we interpret this incident?
Although Arrows have denied the allegations, it is not enough, the matter should be investigated thoroughly. It is about time we rid our game of corrupt activities.
Where are the PSL and Safa when they are needed most? So many things take place under their noses and they turn a blind eye.
And you wonder why players are scared to come out in the open when they have issues - they have nowhere to run when victimised.
I must commend Miheso for standing up and exposing what he was subjected to. After all, the truth shall set you free.
There are lots of players who are dying in silence, scared to lose their only source of income. But silence is not always golden.
Stories of player abuse are quite common, but are never acted on.
Just last night the PSL celebrated its relationship with SuperSport and how well-run the league is. But it is a blight on the league’s name if it turns a blind eye to issues like this.
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