THE 2018/19 Premier League season ended last month with Matlama winning their record 10th Premier League title.
We are in that time of the year where players will be moving from their respective teams to join other teams while others will be hanging their boots due to different reasons.
Last weekend I attended the Kick4Life awards ceremony where I was impressed to learn that the management keeps statistics including the number of caps for all players.
This I learn after it was announced that their long serving skipper Moruti Thamahane has played for 133 times for the Old Europa outfit since the team’s A Division days.
Kick4Life gained promotion into the elite league in the 2013/14 season and now Thamahane is the only player who was there when the side was in the A Divisio0n.
The towering defender’s contract with Kick4Life has now lapsed and will no longer be renewed.
It then hit me, I remembered so many players who have dedicated their lives to different clubs but who were never honoured with anything when they decided to hang their boots due to age.
Few examples are LCS all-rounder Kutloisiso ‘Bascu’ Nthonyana, who was the oldest player to be registered in the premiership last season in his mid 40s; former Bantu captain Tlali ‘King’ Maile, who also last played for the side two seasons ago and former LCS and Likuena captain Moitheri ‘Ngwenya’ Ntobo among others.
I know there are a lot of standards that we still need to achieve but one would have thought that at least if players are honoured by their teams when they hang their boots, it will be treasured in their hearts.
However, some of the local teams do not even bother and similarly, administrators seem not to make the least of effort to change to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of standards.
It would not hurt anyone to honour a player who has had a long season with a club. In fact, it would help inspire the younger generation of players.
This is all the more important because after their long careers, they have nothing to show their long service.
We have seen it happen in other leagues where players get a chance to say proper goodbyes to fans in their last match. These are some of the things that we have to emulate as a country.
Teams should respect and appreciate players’ contributions because our football is not giving much in return for their efforts.
Imagine a scenario where Bushy Moletsane is given a guard of honour by both his teammates and opponents before his last match for Matlama and goes on to say a short speech before kickoff. It looks and sounds so simple but the impression it gives will be lasting.