The year has presented us with many challenges.
We have seen players being unlawfully dismissed, salaries docked and sadly we have said goodbye to some family members we were looking forward to seeing. We are also fully aware that sometimes this is unfortunately the nature of the game which coexists in the competitive space of relegation and promotion.
Despite the odds the South African Football Players Union has continued touching down at football clubs to pay it's members a visit although in recent times – social distancing and screening are the order of the day as we find ourselves in the midst of the Covid19 second wave. We have taken every precaution to ensure that we are safe and so are the players on these door to door visits, In fact a big part of our drive is to ensure that no one becomes complacent especially with the festive season here.
Baroka FC, in Limpopo greeted us with open-elbows. It’s the Covid way of greeting with open-arms something of the past. We enjoyed listening to what their concerns were, their ambitions and the intriguing questions about how does SAFPU protect and defend every player, how does it intend to empower and liberate the mind of the 21st century footballer...?
Taelo Motloung, SAFPU Deputy Secretary General lives for these very moments, “I’ve been on many recruitment drives as part of SAFPU. I love interacting with the players, sharing some of my experiences from my playing days but more importantly it’s about educating these stars on how to safeguard themselves, their talent and their livelihoods. SAFPU is that service. We are their go-to guy when they feel they have nowhere else to go.”
SAFPU has earlier this year teamed up with Lifeline South Africa who forms part of the recruitment drive, offering mental wellness and psychological support to any player in need - anonymously. Mental strength in a football game has become the topic for talk but how about mental agility and health? Demystifying all the stigma that comes along with mental health or illness is the main purpose of Lifeline on these drives. Together our goal is to have both physically and mentally fit members.
Our touch down at clubs during pre-season have fallen away due to the change in calendar on the start of the new season due to the Corona Virus pandemic. So we have managed to adjust and be dynamic in our approach which can be frustrating at times as visits are time dependent at different clubs, mostly allowing us to interact with the players after their morning training sessions.
We will however continue with our visits till the Christmas break as we intend to take full advantage of the newly signed CBA and we will resume our drive again in the New Year. Thanks Baroka for the boost – and to our new family members from Limpopo Province, we’re happy to have you on board.