By Grace Chingoma
Senior Sports Reporter
A SOUTH African administrator says Zimbabwe international midfielder, Marshall Munetsi, is a model of resilience which every ambitious footballer needs to write a success story.
The former Orlando Pirates midfielder is now playing in the French top-flight league against world-class players like Neymar and Angelo Di Maria.
Royal Eagles chief executive, Morgan Mamilla, worked with Munetsi during their time at South African Premiership side Baroka FC. Mamilla is now in charge of lower Division side Royal Eagles who are struggling to find enough resources to pay their players’ salaries.
And Mamilla believes there is a lot which the players at his struggling club, in particular, and around the world, in general, can learn from Munetsi.
He says the Zimbabwean is a model perseverance and kept working hard even when he was being paid peanuts.
Munetsi recently extended his contract with the French club Stade Reims after impressing in his first season in Europe.
Mamilla’s Glad Africa Championship side are struggling financially but the official wants his players to see the bigger picture and not only concentrate on what they earn today. Some players, even in the local Premiership, have been branded “mercenaries”as they are often squabbling with club officials over pay without looking at the bigger picture.
Denver Mukamba once spurned a lucrative offer to move to FC Platinum at the start of 2012, and chose to remain at the Glamour Boys, where he went on to be crowned the best player in the Premiership.
The following year he was rewarded with a move to ABSA Premiership side Bidvest Wits.
And, Mamilla, who was involved in Talent Chawapiwa’s move to Baroka FC, says many footballers do not look at the bigger picture.
“People think running a team is easy is simple,” he told KickOff.com.
“Not everyone has got money. And these problems they haven’t started now. It has been there for quite some time.
“And, we must not run away from this problem (and say) that because people don’t have money they mustn’t be in football.
“For a player to be successful, you start from zero and you go up. If you are good enough you can earn R3 000 this season, and next season you will earn R70 000.
“Remember, if you are good, PSL teams will see you and they will sign you.
“Remember, you are not doing anyone a favour. Remember, this is a platform (GladAfrica Championship). “There are so many teams where players are not getting paid, so many.
“It’s more about encouraging them to work hard so that they can break through and be seen by other PSL teams.”
He said many players just wanted immediate rewards without seeing the benefits that could come in the future if they concentrated on becoming better footballers.
“So, whether salary or no salary, because I respect football, I respect PSL, I must make sure that the team plays all the matches and honours all the fixtures,” he said.
“Just imagine all of us at Royal Eagles seeing the team out of relegation, I’m telling you, most of you guys (players) will attract PSL contracts.
“That’s the only part I’m playing to make sure that the players are happy.
“Money-wise, we all know that we all don’t have money.”
And, Mamilla says Munetsi should always provide inspiration to many that tomorrow could be a better day if they work hard.
“I have always given the example of Marshall Munetsi,” he said.
“That boy was a workaholic, disciplined, he was working hard all the time.
“He was earning little that time; he was not earning enough.
“He was one of the people who were earning less money at the time he was with FC Cape Town and Baroka.
“Remember when we signed him for Baroka, we loaned him from Pirates. When he was offered to us, I said this is a good player, I know. “But he proved himself that you can start small, and where is he now?
“Those guys who were earning double his salary, where are they now?
“Same applies to Percy Tau, he played in NFD. And to be honest, most NFD teams are not run professionally.
“They don’t have the basics of running a football club.”