Jackson loses job, reveals R200 salary

Premiership

Ex-Orlando Pirates defender Willem Jackson has been let go by Highlands Park and recalls how he started in pro football earning R200 per month.

Jackson was relieved of his duties coaching Highlands' reserve team during the coronavirus-enforced suspension of football.

"I was coaching the MDC team. No contract. I think they [Highlands] will explain better to you. I don't have a team now but I'm working on that, to get a team," Jackson tells KickOff.com.

Despite his situation, the 48-year-old still agreed to talk to us for a throwback to his playing career.

Growing up 'Jackson Five' was a staunch supporter of Kaizer Chiefs but later became famous playing for Amakhosi's fierce rivals Orlando Pirates and also represented South Africa with aplomb during the successful late 1990s.

READ: Matlaba: Why I didn't consider Chiefs

Driving a Honda Ballade to get around back in 1992 when he first signed for Bloemfontein Celtic for R200 per month, he reveals how he ended up at The Buccaneers and earned a salary jump to R4 500.

"After Pirates won the CAF championship [in 1995], I was called by the chairman Dr Khoza, and he then spoke to [Petrus] Molemela and said that he wants me," Jackson recalls.

"The reception I got at training was good. The players made me feel at home the day they saw me. Bruce Ramokadi and China Masondo were the jokers of the team."

READ: Masondo blames Igesund for Bucs exit

Jackson enjoyed his time with Bucs and won the BP Top 8, Iwisa Maize Meal Charity Spectacular, Castle Premiership title and Telkom Cup.

But eventually he had to leave when management felt he could no longer produce the goods on the pitch.

"When my contract came to an end they wanted me to join the development that was run by [Augusto] Palacios," Jackson says.

"I said no and joined Silver Stars. I felt that I could still play. I retired at Platinum Stars when Steve Komphela was the coach. He gave me the opportunity to work with him as a second assistant. I was still fit to play."

READ: Pirates' Zungu backed to make waves

The Bloemfontein-born former centre-back says he was honoured to represent Bafana Bafana during such a glorious time in the national team's history.

"Yes, I enjoyed playing for the country. It was a great pleasure playing with all the big names," he says.

Contrary to popular belief, Jackson says saving money during his playing days was not that difficult as it only required self-discipline. Today he lives in Johannesburg and is married with three kids – two boys and a girl.

In case you missed it, check out Jackson's Dream Team that includes the likes of Sidwell Maboe and Surprise Moriri!

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