A fallen hero

2013-02-17 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates manager Phil “Mr Jones” Setshedi who was this week sentenced to eight years on charges related to match-fixing, was no slouch on the field of play but controversy has dogged him in the aftermath of a glowing playing career, writes S’busiso Mseleku.

Once known as “Mr Clean”, Phil “Mr Jones” Setshedi was a sturdy defender for Orlando Pirates, even contributing some important goals when the chips were down.

Most soccer followers – especially those a bit long in the tooth – will remember him for the sterling job he did as player-coach in 1980 when he led The Buccaneers to a 16-match unbeaten streak.

The run culminated in Pirates lifting the Mainstay Cup by beating Moroka Swallows 3-2 before a packed Orlando Stadium in one of the most memorable cup finals.

The record stood for over 20 years and was only broken on January 22, 2005 when Pirates defeated Golden Arrows 3-2 at the Johannesburg Stadium under Kosta Papic to go 17 games unbeaten.

Mr Jones was the team manager at the time.

But alas! After this week’s developments, which began with Setshedi being arrested on June 8, 2011 after a sting operation by Cape Town police, many are likely to remember him for all the wrong reasons.

That he was Bafana Bafana assistant coach when they won the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) trophy in 1996 and when they beat Zaire (now DR Congo) 1-0 on November 11 1996 to qualify for their first ever World Cup appearance, will be pushed to the back pages of his profile.

Already, many have remembered that he was at the centre of the controversy when then Bafana players John “Shoes” Moshoeu, Donald “Ace” Khuse and Steve Komphela lost $51 000, which they had given to him for safekeeping with the intention of banking it the next day.

The money disappeared at a Sandton hotel where the team was staying and Setshedi claimed, at the time, he had stored it under the bed in his hotel room.

City Press reported on November 21, 1999 that the Johannesburg High Court ordered him to repay Moshoeu R200 000 in six instalments of R5 000, six of R5 500, 12 of R6 000 and 10 of R6 500.

Some of those who worked with him reacted with shock to the news of his arrest in 2011.

Former national coach Clive Barker, former captain Neil Tovey and retired defender David Nyathi spoke glowingly of Setshedi.

Barker said: “He was terrific in 1996 at the Afcon. I found him an easy-going guy and actually he helped me select the team. When I heard about this I felt bad for him because I don’t think he has a job and is going through bad times.

“Maybe whoever put him up to this saw him as easy meat. I wish the best for him because you never like to hear about things like this.”

Tovey said: “I didn’t have a problem with him. I found him enthusiastic and he went to great lengths to help everyone.”

Nyathi, who worked with him at Pirates, added: “For us, he was a father figure. He tried to guide us and give us advice. He always told us to be honest and to trust our team-mates. It’s surprising then to hear he’d take such drastic measures. A lot has been said about corruption in our football and maybe it got to the point where the corrupters corrupted him. Maybe he is, in fact, the victim.”

Yesterday, Safa announced they had suspended the match officials implicated in Setshedi’s case.

Earlier in the week, they “welcomed the eight-year sentence imposed” on him.

President Kirsten Nematandani said: “Once again, this sends out a strong warning to anyone who might intend to tarnish the good name of the sport through corrupt and any other unsporting behaviour.”

Safa has called on the public to report suspicious activities in football on the 24-hour anti-corruption hotline number 0800 777 228.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.