The South African Football Players Union (Safpu) has urged its members to behave professionally on and off the field. It has raised its concerns following the deaths of a number of soccer players in car crashes.
Free State Stars winger Sinethemba Jantjie, who was buried at the weekend, was the most recent victim.
Since 2015, a total of six professional soccer players have died as a result of car crashes.
Jantjie’s death last Monday follows that of Richard Henyekane, Cecil Lolo, Mondli Cele, Mondli Dlamini, Mogau Tsehla, Gift Leremi, Clifford Moleko, Lesley Manyathela, among others.
Kaizer Chiefs’ Wiseman Meyiwa has also had to cut his career short after he was paralysed in a car accident.
Most players are known for their flashy lifestyles, which include driving fast and expensive cars. As a result, some lives have been cut short.
Deputy Secretary-General of Safpu, Taello Motloung, says something has to be done about players’ conduct.
“It’s about time they ask themselves. Why am I a professional player? What does it mean for me to be a professional player? How important is my career?’ All those things must come to their minds and think about that deeply, because we are hurt. We cannot turn a blind eye to this situation. We are very hurt.”
Motloung has also urged players to use other means of transportation when they go out.
“When you get into the car think are you in a state that you can drive if yes, do so, if not avoid the car. Stay away from the car, there are ubers, there are taxifies these days, call the people they will come drive you and take you to your destination.”
Safpu has partnered with institutions that include the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport to educate players about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.
They also organise financial workshops with leading financial institutions for the players.
In attempt to reduce the number of road fatalities, they recently had an advanced driving course which is in its pilot phase.
“We are doing our best to help in this situation. We have programs now. They can never be enough. We cannot do enough, but we must take it back to the players. They must help in this situation.”
The players union is also concerned that certain clubs do not allow them to introduce their programs to the players. Clubs have been urged to open their doors so that more players can be better informed.
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