AmaZulu apply for government funding to help pay players and staff
Usuthu were the first team in the South African elite league to declare that they were contemplating salary reductions for their administrative and playing staff as a result of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.
The club general manager, Lunga Sokhela, explained that they have considered different avenues in their efforts to ensure they pay the players in full.
“We’ve applied for the Temporary Employment Funds under UIF. The President (Cyril Ramaphosa) did speak about the R200 billion relief fund. We will be also applying for that. We’ve considered all the avenues and we are doing our best to try and make sure that we keep things afloat. For now, we’ve applied for those two schemes,” Sokhela explained.
Usuthu were facing relegation before the Premier Soccer League (PSL) action was disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are doing whatever it takes to protect everybody involved. I think, we’ve got a very good group of players that understand the situation for what it is. At the end of the day, the survival of the club is of utmost importance beyond this Covid-19. We are employed by the club and it allows us to put food on the table. There’s no use in straining the club and tomorrow you are at the stage where you don’t have a club. They’ve taken a very mature stance."
Usuthu are second from the bottom of the table but they still have a chance of climbing out of the danger zone with more than half a dozen matches to play.
“This is not only affecting AmaZulu football club but it will also affect other clubs. We are doing this to make sure that we still have an industry tomorrow,” Sokhela stated.
It is unclear when the PSL action will resume. The PSL board of governors will meet today to discuss the way forward.
“It is unpleasant times. The reality is that in South African football most clubs rely on the income generated by football owners through their businesses. If that income is not there it does affect the clubs. We understand that players have families to take care of. It is unfortunate that the club’s memo that was intended for our staff was leaked to the media.
"The reality is that we have to be responsible because after Covid-19 we have to come back to a functioning industry. It is a step taken to make sure that we stay afloat so that we can have football even after Covid-19,” said Sokhela.