SuperSport player joins a list of generous football stars who have stepped in to help the less fortunate during the Covid-19 crisis
At a time when the earnings of professional football players are under threat because of the ripple effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, SuperSport United defender Bongani Khumalo has sacrificed his salary for a noble cause.
The former Bafana Bafana captain told City Press this week that he had donated a month’s salary to provide food parcels for about 300 families.
Starting tomorrow, Khumalo will distribute 200 food parcels at an informal settlement in Pretoria West, which is close to his neighbourhood. He said arrangements were on track to deliver the remainder of the parcels to Eswatini, his country of birth.
The 33-year-old tough-tackling central defender was born in the tiny landlocked country, but was raised in Mamelodi township outside Pretoria.
Khumalo said the gesture was purely an act of goodwill at a time when South Africa was trying to deal with deepening food security concerns for the poor during the national lockdown.
“I have decided to donate my full salary to buy food parcels [for the needy] and I am doing this from the bottom of my heart.
“I am in a fortunate position to do this and I hope to reach out to 300 families during this difficult time, while also paying homage to Eswatini, where my father was born,” said Khumalo, adding that each hamper contained basic food stuffs and sanitary items.
He declined to quantify the value of his total contribution as this would give away what he earns every month.
“I am doing this in my personal capacity; this is not for personal glory,” said the player, who was signed by English Premier League powerhouse Tottenham Hotspur in a R15 million transfer deal from SuperSport in 2011.
Khumalo also spoke about his interests outside of football, and said that his company – a mask manufacturing company founded in Centurion a few years ago – had undertaken to make a separate donation.
“I am a partner in a company called U-Mask based in Centurion. My two co-founders, David Molosankwe and Jordean Eksteen, and I have decided to donate to charity.”
The defender said his goodwill gesture was also a way to show his appreciation for the fact that he got to play football again after a ruptured knee ligament kept him out of action for eight months in 2014, a setback that forced him to return home from overseas in 2015.
Khumalo rejoined SuperSport from Bidvest Wits two years ago, but has been used sparingly by coach
Kaitano Tembo this season, with 15 appearances in all competitions before the indefinite postponement of the campaign.
Khumalo’s agent, Glyn Binkin, who brokered his big money move to Spurs, said he was humbled by the generosity of players who remembered those who were less fortunate.
His other client, SuperSport, and Bafana defender Aubrey Modiba, are in the process of completing a fundraising project to contribute food parcels and face masks in Menz village in Limpopo, his place of birth.
“Being a professional footballer and potentially earning large sums of money also comes with massive responsibilities, both to one’s family and the community.
“It’s fantastic to see, at times like we are currently faced with, how many of these footballers are trying to assist the communities where they come from and others in need,” said Binkin of the Player’s Club Management Agency.
The past few months have seen a number of players doing their bit amid the panic caused by the Covid19 pandemic. Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast star Wilfred Zaha has opened his properties to London’s exhausted healthcare workers, while Senegal and Liverpool star Sadio Mané donated $50 000 (R943 000) to his country’s national medical commission.