Mbombela United from Mpumalanga were crowned the
champions of the SAFA/ABC Motsepe League after beating Eastern Cape's Mthatha
Bucks 2-1 in the final on Sunday.
For their efforts, the two clubs earned promotion to
the National First Division (NFD).
They also pocketed R1 million and R500 000 in prize
And that's where I start having a problem.
You see, should Mbombela United, who immediately added
the moniker "The millionaires" to their name, go on to win the NFD at
the end of this season, they will only receive a measly R400 000.
Let me give a little background here.
The ABC Motsepe
League is an amateur league under the auspices of the South African Football
Association (SAFA). It is the country's third tier league after the Absa
Premiership and the NFD, which are both "professional" leagues under
the Premier Soccer League (PSL) banner.
For quite some time now, there has been complaints
that NFD clubs were treated like Cinderella cousins when compared to the fat
cats playing in the elite league.
There is such a discrepancy that while PSL clubs enjoy
playing in at least three domestic competitions - the MTN8, Telkom Knockout Cup and
the Nedbank Cup besides the league championship, NFD clubs only take part in
the Nedbank Cup and their league.
PSL clubs get a R1 500 000 monthly grant while NFD
sides have to make do with R350 000.
The club that gets crowned as the Absa Premiership
champions, receive a whopping R10 million while their NFD counterparts settle
for the paltry R400 000 which is far less than the R1 million the ABC
Motsepe League champions receive.
It is even a R100 000 less than what the ABC Motsepe
League runners up get!
Even the distribution of the different cups' prize
money shows an imbalance.
To get the R10 million league first prize, a club must
go through 30 matches over a period of about 10 months from August to May.
However to pocket the R8 million as MTN8 champions, a
club has to win only three matches.
I know I might be accused of comparing tomatoes with
oranges here or is it apples with onions. It just puzzles me at the moment.
The Telkom KO Cup where the 16 PSL clubs play four
matches to win the prize, the carrot is R4 million.
And the Nedbank Cup - which is contested for even by
amateur clubs along similar lines as England's FA Cup with PSL and NFD clubs
entering at the Last 32 stage - carries a R7 million first prize for the winner
of five matches.
I'm not a maths guru but to me these figures don't
I think it is time that our football administrators
took a fresh look at how monies are disbursed within the sport.
And while I was pondering this, I saw this weekend that SAFA is at loggerheads with the
organisers of the Varsity Football Cup that is played under former Springbok
captain Francois Pienaar's Varsity
SAFA is questioning the rationale of having a budget
of R1.3 million for Varsity Rugby but put aside a paltry budget of R73 000 for
I think they have a
point. There is a case to be answered here but that's a debate for another day.
S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is
currently City Press Sports Editor.
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