Kaizer Chiefs remain hopeful that striker Katlego Mphela will join them before the transfer window shuts at close of business on Friday, though Sundowns have yet to veto the move.
Mphela currently has a pre-contract with Chiefs to join them in time for next season, but the Amakhosi are negotiating with the Brazilians to get him released early from his contract.
“We are hoping, because it would be good for the boy to join the team before his contract expires,” said Chiefs assistant coach Doctor Khumalo yesterday.
“But we respect Sundowns’ rules, as much as Pirates would also love to have (Lehlohonolo) Majoro on time,” he added, in reference to the Chiefs striker that Orlando Pirates are currently trying to get released early.
“It would be wise for the boy (Mphela) to come early to gel with the other players. Irrespective that he has played with some of our players in the national team, or he knows Chiefs, there are certain things that we do here that others don’t.
“From what I have heard, they (Sundowns) were waiting for us to play them and then they were going to respond. I don’t know if they have or have not, but after you lose (Chiefs beat Sundowns 1-0) maybe it is not easy to make a quick judgment.”
Mphela’s agent, Glyn Binkin, meanwhile, confirmed that the ball is in Sundowns’ court: “We are hopeful but it is up to Sundowns,” he said yesterday.
Amakhosi are doing perfectly well right now without Mphela, eight points clear at the summit of the Absa Premiership, and will look to make it eight league wins on the trot tomorrow, when they travel to Dobsonville to face Moroka Swallows.
“We have worked very hard for this, a programme has been there, initiated by the head coach and supported by all departments. Defending the league and Nedbank Cup, they are the only two (domestic) trophies left at the moment, it is a mountain to climb, but we have to make sure we put a smile on our supporters’ faces,” said Khumalo.
“And we don’t want to disappoint in the Champions League. We understand it is a heavy programme, but we don’t want to be cry-babies and are preparing to make sure everything goes our way by the end of the season.”
Itumeleng Khune seems set to play against Swallows despite appearing in court for speeding this week, with Khumalo saying he has been totally unfazed in training.
“I was not even aware he had a problem because it has been smiles all the way in training,” added Khumalo. “We never spoke about it and he has been focused.” Khumalo is well aware of the threat that Swallows pose, and is a little concerned about the size of the pitch in Dobsonville. “When we play them on small pitches it is a problem because we are used to FNB. But we have had at least three days preparation for a smaller pitch. It is a tough one, Zeca (Marques) is doing a good job. They (Swallows) have great players like (Siyabonga) Nomvethe and Lefa (Tsutsulupa) but we have worked very hard. We are more than ready.”
Chiefs, meanwhile, will play at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday in an exhibition match against a Nedbank Ke Yona team, with the kick-off at 3pm. The Ke Yona team are a side scouted from across the nine provinces by four coaches, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, Owen da Game, Mike Mangena and Khabo Zondo. - The Star