Pretoria - SuperSport United coach Cavin Johnson is planning an audacious swoop for star players at his previous employer Platinum Stars.
Having lost out in the pursuit of highly-prized winger Lindokuhle Mbatha recently to Mamelodi Sundowns, the former Stars coach, Johnson, has set his sights on exciting Stars duo Mogakolodi Ngele and Robert Ngambi.
Johnson confirmed that some of the players he was eyeing for SuperSport United are from his former club, but would not go into specifics.
SuperSport have already made inquiries about a number of players but are most keen on Ngele and Ngambi, according to club sources.
“Stars are a team we have been looking at. They have good, solid, quality players,” Johnson acknowledged on Monday,
“We have to box cleverly in the transfer market. The challenge for the management is how we operate.
“A lot of players can tell you that ‘there is another club that also wants me and they are offering me this much.
“And we have to assess the situation,” said Johnson, who signed midfielder Andile Fikizolo from Thanda Royal Zulu on Monday afternoon. SuperSport are competing with PSL heavyweights Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns for the signatures of the players.
Johnson enjoys a good relationship with both players having coached them two seasons ago while at the helm of the Phokeng-based club. A reunion for the trio could be on the cards with SuperSport apparently willing to break the bank for the players.
“Sometimes having worked with a player before does help when trying to bring them to your team. And at times it can have an adverse effect.
“It’s not only about attracting a player to come play for a certain coach, but the player also has to look at the club as a whole.
“The player must also have a willingness to come play at SuperSport,” Johnson said.
SuperSport’s top priority was to tighten their defence. And so they did as they pinned three defenders - Michael Morton from Maritzburg United, Clayton Daniels from Bloemfontein Celtic and Tamsanqa Teyise from AmaZulu - to pre-contracts in the latter stages of last season. The reinforcements come as a reaction to defensive frailties in the last campaign where SuperSport’s leaky defence conceded the most number of goals (36) among the top half of the table.
For a club keen to parley over the availability of a player, one of their biggest hurdles is when the player is still under contract for a couple of seasons for their current employer, according to Johnson.
“It’s easier when the player is a free agent. “But if they have years left on their contracts then we have to sit down with the club and negotiate with them on a price.”
“The other is playing tug-of-war with other suitors for the services of players.”
“If the player is willing to come join us and we are all in agreement then by all means.”
What makes it that much more of a challenge is the fact that we are competing with other top-flight clubs for the same players.
“That’s why every second day we sit together as management and try to see a way forward,” said Johnson on Monday.