DURBAN – The South African Football Players’ Union (Safpu) have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Road Accident Fund in an effort to try and curb the instances of talented football players who are dying in the country.
It has become a norm in SA football to lose players in car accidents. On Sunday, Maritzburg United were dealt a major blow when one of their young prospects, Mlondi Dlamini, lost his life in that manner.
He is not the first footballer to die in a similar fashion. The likes of Lesley “Slow Poison” Manyathela, Gift “Vum Vum” Leremi, Cecil Lolo and Richard Henyakane all passed away in motor vehicle incidents.
Tebogo Monyai, who is the vice president at Safpu, confirmed on Thursday that they are taking the issue seriously and are in the process of finding solutions.
“This is very shocking. It is not nice to lose players in a similar way. We have signed the memorandum of understanding with the Road Accident Fund. We want to create campaigns and awareness about how to avoid accidents,” Monyai said.
“We want to give players tips on other avenues they can utilise if they want to go out at night. There’s Uber and (sedan) taxis nowadays.
“This can help to avoid accidents because this doesn’t happen in cricket and rugby. We are intending to use players who have been involved in car accidents as our ambassadors.”
Sapfu donated R5 000 to the family of Dlamini, who will be laid to rest on Saturday at Mpophemeni in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal.
“Our research has shown that most of these players lose their lives in car accidents because they drive for long hours.
“Let me make an example – you will find that a football player is plying his trade for the team that is in Durban, but his home is in Gauteng, If they get a break, he will drive all the way to Gauteng,” Monyai said.
“When he gets there, he will visit his friend and family, and on Sunday, he has to drive back to Durban.
“This person has not had enough rest, and as a result, he gets tired. These are some of the things our players need to avoid.”