Friday marked the end of an era at Orlando Pirates, as one of the club’s longest-serving players, Thabo Matlaba parted ways with the Soweto giants.
The Buccaneers continued a mass clear-out of players which began earlier in the week, with the ex-skipper among those shown the exit door.
In a statement issued out by the club, it was claimed that the player had declined a pay cut, having fallen down the pecking order as far as squad places are concerned, and was let go as a result.
Agent clears air on Matlaba’s Pirates exit
However, Matlaba’s agent has denied that the reduced offer was the driving force behind his exit, stating that the 31-year-old needed to be guaranteed game time.
“All that Thabo wanted was to play. It wasn’t just about the money,” Abbie Rasimphi was quoted as saying by DailySun.
“I don’t think other clubs can meet a quarter of what Thabo was earning at Pirates, not that I am undermining them.
“Thabo had a good relationship with the chairman (Irvin Khoza) who treated him like his own son. But unfortunately he would not interfere with the coaching stuff.
“He was well paid and that’s where the attachment came from, if any team can match that it’s okay, but it’s not all about the money.
“He was well looked after and was loved at Pirates, that’s why he is still hurting.”
Matlaba joined Pirates in January 2012 after making the move from Free State Stars.
He made 195 appearances for the club across competitions, with only seven of those coming in the 2018/19 season.
The Buccaneers have so far released a total of nine first team players, with two more placed on the transfer list, and are expected to announced a host of signings in the coming days.