Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi seeks to mend relations

2014-04-06 14:01

Having an agent can be a good thing and a bad thing.

This is how former Bafana Bafana midfielder Benedict “Tso” Vilakazi feels after what he calls a harsh lesson learnt when he left Orlando Pirates in 2007.

He discovered that his former agent Mike Makaab had allegedly made a demand that subsequently burnt Tso’s bridges with his former club.

In an interview with City Press at his home in Diepkloof, Soweto, this week, Vilakazi alleged Makaab demanded a monthly salary of R180?000 for his client to go back to Pirates.

Tso said this was when he left the ­Buccaneers for Danish club Aalborg BK.

“It’s good to have agents sometimes but not good when they take decisions on your behalf that can come back to haunt you,” said the bitter fallen star. “I have just discovered why it was so difficult for me to rejoin Pirates.

“My agent actually told them they must pay me R180?000 a month if I rejoined them. But I was not in that meeting. All l promised the ­chairperson [Irvin Khoza] was that I would end my ­career at Pirates.”

Makaab laughed off these allegations.

“It’s absolutely false. Nothing could be further from the truth and you can ask the chairperson [Khoza],” said the Prosport International CEO.

He added: “Tso decided to leave Prosport and move on with his life. We had a fantastic relationship with him and we treated him like a son. I’m surprised he would make such ­comments.”

Vilakazi, who looked a bit strained, is back home since last Friday following a futile mission to revive his career in Botswana.

He parted ways with ­Botswana Premier League side BMC FC after the club terminated his contract.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder said he was making another attempt to rejoin Pirates “but first I need to mend the relations between myself and the club”.

Vilakazi insisted his sister’s death in 2008 complicated the early months of a five-year ­contract in Denmark.

“Many people think I betrayed Pirates but I never did. My sister’s passing forced me to come back home. I joined Sundowns because I was desperate to be closer to my late sister’s kids.

“At that time, there was no response from Pirates and Mike told me he had struck a deal with Sundowns. I delayed a bit before joining Sundowns, hoping something would come up at Pirates.”

Vilakazi said he did not want to be associated with controversy. Now remarried, the player says he has learnt from his previous mistakes and has matured. “I’m perceived as a troublemaker.

Even Khoza will vouch for me that I’m not that type of a person. I am a father and I put everything into my work.”

In response, Khoza said: “If Tso was 15 years old at the time, maybe we could say he was ­misguided. I don’t know anything about the Mike [Makaab] issue.

“The proposal I remember was from the club in Denmark – Aalborg – and we reluctantly let Tso join them because he was critical of the Pirates team.”

Khoza added: “We were never given a chance to bid for him when he returned from overseas and the next thing he was in Sundowns colours. That did not sit well with us.”

He said whether Vilakazi could rejoin the club and then the role he would play would not be his call but the technical team’s decision.

“Tso is my neighbour [in Diepkloof] and he used to walk into my house without an appointment. I stood alone to support him in his court case and spent about R400?000 without counting the costs. Now, why must I negotiate with him through a newspaper?”

Vilakazi’s response to allegations of being an age cheat was: “Itumeleng Khune is young but his maturity belies his age. People will always come up with stories to discredit a person.”

The player who turns 33 in August conceded: “My pace might be gone but I have football brains that can carry me through for two or three more seasons.”

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