The Kermit Erasmus saga that briefly engulfed South African football
this week shows the darker side of the game as unscrupulous individuals seek to
profit from underhand dealings.
In a nutshell, the Orlando Pirates forward was approached some weeks
ago by an as yet unnamed agent who claimed to have an offer on the table from
Egyptian giants Zamalek, the same club that The Buccaneers faced this past
weekend in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The money, reported to be a monthly salary of $30 000 plus bonus add-ons, caught the attention of the player
straight away and he decided to have a think about.
I know for a fact that he spoke to his former coach at Pirates,
Roger de Sa, now in charge of Ajax Cape Town, some three weeks ago about
whether the move would be right for him.
So this has been brewing for some time and when stories emanated in
Egypt, the South African media jumped on them.
A R20-million transfer fee, which would have made Erasmus the second
most expensive player to leave the PSL ever after Thulani Serero, was banded
about and it was being reported as basically a done deal.
Except nobody bothered to make the one phonecall that would have
cleared it up in an instant.
If Pirates had accepted a transfer fee from Zamalek, they would have been
duty-bound to acknowledge this to Erasmus’s contracted representative,
European-based business manager Rob Moore.
Pirates have an excellent administrative team, headed by Floyd
Mbele, and I have no doubt that had they accepted an offer they would have
followed the correct channels.
When I spoke to Moore on Tuesday, he knew nothing about the deal and after
making a few phonecalls himself, uncovered its bogus nature.
The first problem with the alleged transfer was that Zamalek have already
signed three foreign players for the season and are not allowed by league rules
to add a fourth.
The second problem, Zamalek coach Jesualdo Ferreira told Moore, was
that they had no interest at all in signing the striker. Ouch.
Erasmus still has some explaining to do to Moore, like why he sat on
this alleged offer for at least three weeks and never said anything. But that
is for them to sort out.
Moore also revealed that this was not the first time that bogus agents had
messed with one of his players after a similar incident involving Bafana Bafana
midfielder May Mahlangu and Hull City.
It appears as though these shadowy figures approach players and
clubs with offers on official stationary with the hope of sealing commission
payments or favour before anyone notices.
Or they hope that if the player agrees, they can then persuade the
‘buying’ club that they have deal ‘in the bag’ and can make a quick transaction.
It is, of course, ethically and morally wrong,
but football is big business and as we all know, where big sums of money are
involved, corruption tends to follow.
We can only take the lessons from this as players, clubs and the media. Check
your sources and know who you are talking to!
Nick Said is the Business Director at Mzanzi Football.
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