Big ups to Orlando Pirates for once again leading the way and showing that no individual is bigger than the club.
News of the club dropping Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga from the squad that reported for the bio-bubble last Sunday, following a breach of the team’s Covid-19 protocols on the eve of their game against Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday did not go down well with some of the Bucs faithful.
Those against this move argued that the club needed the two to help them launch a last-minute charge at the league title.
Lorch in particular was missed by the team as they laboured to a goalless draw against the Brazilians, and Pirates failed to close the gap at the top of the Absa Premiership log.
Bucs die-hard supporters think the exclusion of Lorch and Shonga was a harsh decision.
Personally, I don’t agree with this and I believe the club made the right decision.
Even though dropping the team’s star players might come back to haunt them, I don’t think the decision backfired as it sent a clear message that Pirates won’t tolerate any misdemeanours – including from Lorch, the reigning PSL player of the season – in their stable.
I commend the club for standing its ground and this should be a warning to any player that ill-discipline will not be tolerated.
"All players have been educated and are constantly reminded of their responsibilities as public servants and role models,” the club said this week. It is our role and duty to ensure that all members of this organisation are fully compliant [with the Covid-19 regulations] and are aware of the measures that are in place.
“Both players will be afforded the opportunity to return to play once the disciplinary processes have been finalised.”
This is the kind of leadership we need in the league. Last week, Kaizer Chiefs also made a hard decision by suspending the club’s manager of football Bobby Motaung for flouting lockdown regulations.
This is what I have been preaching – for clubs to be proactive and tell us what is happening in their camps, for if we ourselves dig, we will go deeper and find things that clubs don’t want the public to know.
This brings to mind the case of Sundowns players who were allegedly under the influence when they joined their team-mates in camp. It might be a private matter, but there is nowhere to hide.
So it’s better to strike while the iron it is hot by addressing the issue and letting the public know you have done something about it. When you don’t say anything, it’s like you want to sweep matters under the carpet. This does not inspire confidence in the team-mates, supporters and public.
I always advocate transparency – put it out there for the public to judge.
Remember, these players are part of our society and some of their actions – good or bad – will be copied by their followers.
Sometimes it is not important to go into details about who did what, when, where, how and why. It’s okay, you can spare us some details. But what counts is sending the message to the public that you won’t tolerate misbehaviour, irrespective of the individual’s position in the club.
Need for transparency
I wish all the PSL clubs would take a cue from Pirates and be proactive and more transparent.
Not long ago, Bucs were the first to reveal that one of their players, Ben Motshwari, had tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
I think the disclosure went a long way towards destigmatising the virus and showing the public that it can be beaten. Motshwari deservedly walked away with the man of the match accolade in his first game after recovering from the virus.
He played his heart out, possibly because he wanted to prove to everyone that he is still the same player, if not better, after recovering.
His performance would have gone along way towards helping to dispel the stigma associated with Covid-19.
Speaking of which, it would be nice for the clubs to tell which players have tested positive so far.
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