The Cheetahs, having resigned themselves to the fact that Lionel Mapoe does not want to play for them again, now look intent on destroying the player’s career instead, by seeking a High Court ruling that would prevent him for “offering his services to the Sharks in any capacity” until his contract expires in October 2011.
Mapoe, who left Bloemfontein for Durban prior to the Currie Cup season, was unhappy with his remuneration at the Cheetahs, whose “revised salary offer” of R20k a month was less than a fifth of the player’s market worth. The Cheetahs were found to have a binding contract with Mapoe, but the player has since refused to return to Bloemfontein, stating an irreparable breakdown in trust between himself and his employers. Who can blame the guy either? He’s a young man with a family to support and given how short a rugby career is – as well as how talented he is – what the Cheetahs are prepared to pay for his services is a bloody disgrace.
The Sharks duly offered the Cheetahs a transfer fee to soften the blow, which Harold Verster (the only main to stand a realistic hope of supplanting Manie Reynecke as the “biggest tool in SA Rugby”) dismissed out of hand. This, to me anyway, seemed reasonably petty, since Mapoe clearly has zero desire or inclination to pull on the white jersey again and despite all of Verster’s blustering, there’s not a huge amount they can do about it. The Cheetahs cannot FORCE Mapoe to play rugby for them and I think they know that. Instead, in the best tradition of petty power-mongers everywhere, Verster seems content to ensure that Mapoe shouldn’t be allowed to play rugby for anybody else either.
In the meantime, the ever-opportunistic Bulls, who first pointed out the fact that Mapoe was earning a pittance in Bloem, have apparently also weighed in with a transfer fee offer. Verster, in pursuing his little vendetta, has unfortunately for him ruled that option out as well, since he would have no leg to stand on if he were prepared to accept money from the Bulls, but not the Sharks. We all know that all he really wants out of this is shot of Mapoe, since the player clearly has no future with the Cheetahs. By overplaying his hand, though, the only result here will be a promising career ruined, while the CEO strokes his ego and boasts to his cronies over brandy about exactly how much of a big shot he is.
The case should go to court on 23 September. I guess we’ll have more to report at that stage.Tweet