Throwback Thursday: Japie Motale

Posted: 21 December 2017 Time: 13:45

Former Mamelodi Sundowns defender Japie Motale says an office job is a lot more challenging than getting paid to kick a ball and run.

Motale is now working as a coordinator at the City of Tshwane’s Department of Sport and Recreation, and admits the role took some getting used to after earning his keep as a footballer.

"Obviously it's not easy when you are used to working two hours a day as a footballer to working eight hours," says Motale.

"At the beginning it was a challenge, office work is something else... computer, board meetings and you have to file the reports. Here you do more writing and submitting where before I only had to kick a ball and run. Yes, here you do get field work but most of the work is done indoors.

"I coordinate the facilities and I manage the suites at the stadiums like Loftus. We make sure everything is properly managed there, whatever that needs to be fixed I see that it is fixed.

"Currently we are also working on an after-school programme. We want to bring the school leagues in the area, all sporting codes. But that's something that's still in the pipeline. We want to bring proper coaching to those schools rather than using the teachers. We want ex-professionals to be coaches in schools, that's something that's gonna start next year."

The 38-year-old, whose older brother is ex-Orlando Pirates captain Edward Motale, explains how he got the job.

"I did short courses, so when that post was advertised someone said to me, 'You know what, in life you have to move on and we can't all be coaches’. I think that's something that is killing us as professional players because we don't wanna pursue other things. I took my chance and applied for this job, I got shortlisted and I went for the interviews."

Motale says it's not easy to save money as a player in South Africa as your family starts to depend on you before the ink on your contract dries.

"As black people it's difficult to save money. First of all you get into debts from the first day you've turned professional. You are in possession of your contract copy and you show your contract to your parents. As soon as you do that do you know what your mother does? She installs a kitchen unit that's similar to Mrs Mahlangu's who lives next door via credit.

“You as a professional player must pay that debt because you don't wanna disappoint them at home, though you haven't even done a single thing for yourself. Two months down the line they tell you an uncle has passed away and you must arrange the whole funeral. Your cousins fold their hands and say ja he is playing football he's got money, he is always on TV, he will bury our dad. Even you as a footballer you want to save your reputation so that people can't speak bad about you saying you failed to give your uncle a proper burial. So you make loans, you borrow from whoever and you tell the family, ‘No don't worry I will contribute R10 000 so we can bury our uncle’."

Motale, whose highest salary was R40 000, says he is now ready to settle down and is planning to get married next year.

"I have a fiance Grace Motshegwa but soon we'll be getting married, somewhere early next year but before June for sure, I have three daughters," adds the one-time SuperSport United man.

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Article by: Sipho Mlotha

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