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David Mkandawire family begs for help

by Staff reporter
05 Jul 2016 at 07:05hrs | Views
FRIENDS and families of two fallen former Premier Soccer League (PSL) stars have appealed for help.

Former Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates, Maritzburg United and Ajax Cape Town star midfielder Junaid Hartley, 38, sometimes begs for R5 to buy cigarettes and Fleurhof residents say he is wasted because of drugs.

David Mkandawire (36), who had stints at Maritzburg, University of Pretoria and Hannover Park, begs outside Shoprite in Kempton Park.

Hartley's father, Omar, yesterday broke down while describing how his son, who burst into topflight football at 16, had been wasted by drugs.

"He definitely needs to be helped, it's time that he gets help. He is still the best in South Africa; he is the only guy that can sit next to (Manchester United coach Jose) Mourinho in terms of coaching. I'm not saying this because he is my son, he has a different way of thinking," he said.

Newly promoted Highlands Park's goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini said three Zimbabwean players had contributed money to help Mkandawire.

"His mother needs to get a passport to travel to Johannesburg from Malawi to get him. The money will go towards her acquiring travel documents, transport and accommodation. It's quite a sad scenario and we're asking for more donations," Kapini said.

Hartley and Mkandawire both played for Maritzburg United and the club's chairman Farouk Kadodia said he knew nothing about the issue. "I'll try to locate them the next time I'm in Johannesburg," he said.

Tuks spokesperson Pearl Mosoane said the club had no idea that Mkandawire needs help.

"As far as I know noone has made us aware, we don't know anything," she said.

Hartley, who played in France for Lens in 1997, recently said: "If I look at the photos from the last five years, I looked like me, but later I didn't. You lose your mind, looks, teeth and then your family. You gain nothing and yet you lie to yourself so much that you tell yourself you're in control. It's only later you realise how far away from reality you actually were."

Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said they would discuss and see how they can assist Mkandawire, a former Zimbabwe national team player.

The New Age yesterday saw the pitiful sight of Mkandawire, who was outside Shoprite in Kempton Park, barefooted in dirty black shorts and a black Puma T-shirt.

"We're trying to make arrangements for his mother to come this side and get him. Maybe if he can be with his family something can be done," said Mkandawire's former friend, who declined to be named.

PSL spokesperson Luxolo September said a player like 38-year-old Junaid, who has not played for any club in over nine years, was not eligible to benefit from the PSL's player insurance.

"For nine years he hasn't kicked a ball in the South African Premier League. Insurance only covers players who are registered. If you last played for the League and left you'll not be covered by that," said September.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said this was one of the issues they were looking to address.

"It's one of the issues we've tried to engage the clubs about. In most cases we find players move from rags to riches and immediately after their careers they're back to rags. Soccer is a short career; if they don't invest properly they're going down," Chimhavi said.

He believes skills development would be critical in helping players in that situation.

"We want investment companies to say how players can be helped. They earn massive monies and after playing they're back in their family backyards. We don't see that in rugby or in cricket. This has to be done with clubs because we, as Safa, don't own players," he said

The South African Football Players Union (Safpu) acting president Tebogo Monyai said it was unfortunate a lot of former PSL stars were struggling after hanging their boots. He said they were running a few programmes to prepare soccer stars for life after football.

"We also have a Safpu coaching course for former players and current players to study. It's unfortunate Junaid retired before the programme, started, but we're prepared to cover them and ensure they're out of these situations," Monyai said.

He said they had invited Junaid and Mkandawire to be part of the course. But while Hartley appears to be battling drug addiction, Mkandawire seems to have even deeper demons.

"I suspect David has a mental problem and needs psychiatric treatment before we even consider repatriating him to his family in Zimbabwe," said his friend.

Monyai said most players are not schooled in planning for retirement and enjoy the good life without saving when at their peak. "Education is the key; it can help them to coach in schools, the Vodacom League and be assistants everywhere. Clubs can absorb them and have them coach junior teams," he said.

A neighbour to Hartley said: "In his state, I doubt he would be able to take up such a course. He seems a little unstable to me."

Source - The New Age

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