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Ajax Cape Town’s Mark Mayambela feels South African administrators need to do more

Posted: 2 October 2016 Time: 19:44

Ajax Cape Town’s Mark Mayambela feels administrators need to do more in looking after South African players’ well-being off the pitch.

The experienced playmaker, who signed for the Urban Warriors at the start of the season, has had a much-publicised troubled past, yet is hoping the younger players at his new club will be able to learn from him.

“Having come from teams that don’t have such youth structures, we are in a very privileged position,” he tells KickOff.com. “Ajax is a team that is known for producing quality youngsters, and I keep telling the young players that it’s up to them to appreciate what the team is doing for them and work hard at training in order to get an opportunity to play.

“There is a lot you can teach a footballer, but if their attitude is not right, he will not learn or understand what is being taught. So I will try instil a good attitude all the time.”

Having grown up in challenging conditions himself, the Khayelitsha-born midfielder feels there is a general lack of apathy towards players’ upbringing and social background, as feels more needs to be done in considering all factors in a professional footballer’s life.

“I know life is hard, we all have problems,” he says. “Lots of footballers are from disadvantaged families and backgrounds, and I think the administrators of football don’t look much into that and helping the players, and getting to know them, their families and their problems. That is something that is lacking in South Africa … so I think for players like me that have grown up in the township and seen the hardships and been raised in shacks and managed to get out of that, it’s all about sharing that.”

And Mayambela reveals he is trying to do his bit to encourage youngsters from the area where he grew up.

“I do motivational talks in Khayelitsha, to encourage them by telling them my story as I have been in that situation, so it makes it a bit easier for them,” he says. “They often have the perception that celebrities are not human, so I try instil that we are human and grew up in the same environment.”

Following the postponement of their league fixture last week against newly-crowned MTN8 winners Bidvest Wits, Ajax will only be in action again after the FIFA break, away to Kaizer Chiefs in Amakhosi’s first of three home games in Durban on 15 October.

Article by: Fabio De Dominicis
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