Bleak Christmas for ex-Black Leopard

2011-12-17 20:42

Former Black Leopards defender Michael Mntuyedwa will have a bleak Christmas.

His crime: galavanting three years ago in the wee hours of the morning at a gig in Venda, then getting shot in the thigh, resulting in the club terminating his contract in 2009.

He was then declared medically unfit to continue playing soccer.

After initially winning his case at the PSL’s dispute resolution commission and being awarded R250?000, Mntuyedwa’s woes continued when Leopards successfully appealed the verdict at Safa’s appeals board.

The board sent the matter back to the commission, who then ordered the club to pay him a mere R30?000, which was half his January salary, and full pay for February 2009.

The South African Football Players’ Union has called this an insult.

The union’s national organiser, Cappy Matutoane, said they would appeal the decision as they felt the player was being cheated.

He said they wanted Leopards to pay out Mntuyedwa’s contract, which officially ended in June last year, and also claim a disability grant from the league’s insurance.

He accused the club of reneging on its contractual obligation when it put the defender on unpaid leave before terminating his contract.

“I have never heard of such a situation in football whereby a player is put on unpaid leave,” said Matutoane.

“The club never took care of his medical bills let alone taking him to a decent hospital after he got shot.

“He was sent from pillar to post by the club and they never submitted his medical claim to the insurance.

“He was also told to vacate their premises,” said Matutoane.

Leopards are adamant they were within their rights to dismiss the defender for misconduct.

The club’s general manager, Sam Khaphathe, said this week the player was lucky to be paid the R30?000.

According to him, the matter should never have gone to the dispute commission as it was a clear case of violating his contract.

“Every player’s contract stipulates that if they are found to have breached the contract in the scope of their work, action will be taken against them.

“He was shot at a party at 2.30am fighting for a girlfriend with a taxi driver. We expected him to be sleeping at that time,” said Khaphathe.

He continued that it was clearly stipulated in player’s contracts that “absence through illness or injury will be paid as sick leave?.?.?.?and only in respect of illness or injury which is not caused by misconduct”.

“He was shot at a party at 2.30am fighting for a girlfriend with a taxi driver. We expected him to be sleeping at that time,” Khaphathe.

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