Do PSL players deserve long-term deals?

Premiership

Clubs appear to be risking more than players when it comes to lucrative new contracts. We enquire whether PSL players are worth what they are paid.

We've seen on many occasions local players demanding big contracts from their current or potential employers, only to fail to shine once they get signed.

It is very rare for a South African-based footballer to perform consistently for even two consecutive seasons.

Players who come to mind are the likes of George Lebese, Jeremy Brockie, Aubrey Ngoma and Lehlohonolo Majoro, to mention just a few.

READ: 21 days of introspection for Majoro

So do our players really deserve long-term deals? Cape Town City chairman John Comitis provides some perspective from the side of the club bosses.

"You can give a long-term contract to a player that you believe you want to keep in your club for a long time," Comitis tells KickOff.com.

"You don't have to give for anything other than the quality of the player. When you sign a player that you are hundred percent sure that for the next five years this player is going to perform for you, then you can give a longer contract.

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"But the player you have question marks about, maybe his age, then you need to take a risk. Whether the player is playing or he's not playing, you have to pay him.

"If things worked differently in this country perhaps we could look at long-term contracts, if a player's salary was based on performance. These are things we've debated before and talked about. We've discussed salary caps. That can never work. We live in a free, democratic society.

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"But performance-based contracts would be great. The problem is you can't do it in isolation. You can't have one or two clubs doing it.

"When I played in Europe for three seasons my contract was based pretty much like that, most of the players' contracts were, but the bonuses were very high. So your salary might be R20 000 a month but your bonus was R20 000 a win. So if you win three games in a month and you are playing, you get eighty grand.

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"The problem is people have to earn a living, have to plan their expenses and their lifestyles, and you can't plan on performance during contracts. But that's the nature of the game. At the end of the day you must understand, we've got 30 players and every game 19 players are being paid to not play.

"Because you don't really pay your players to train. Training is just a preparation for your match. You are paying the players to play on the pitch and perform. So every time you have a player that plays half the games in a season, whatever he's costing you, he is costing you double.

"But market forces dictate how things work, and if you want a player, you need to pay him. You just hope that you don't make a mistake, and that's why sometimes [as a chairman] you put an option [in the contract]. You say one year plus two 'and then I want to see you after one year how you are, then I can make up my mind to find out if you are worth the money I'm paying you'. So this is how these things work.

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"But it's always about a balance you know and if you have a lot of experience it's not difficult to achieve what you have to achieve. But you always have to be brave enough to walk away from a player when it doesn't feel right, when he is pushing you too much for money and it's a situation where you want him but you are not desperate enough to just sign him in any case.

"Some clubs are fortunate enough to be able to do that, and they make mistakes, and that's costing them a fortune with each mistake they make, but it doesn't make a difference to them you know.

"Other clubs every mistake is the difference between survival or not. So it's a very tricky situation signing players and you've got to be very disciplined in the decisions that you make.

"And you must be able... you must be prepared to walk away from players when it doesn't feel right."

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