This transfer-window period would be so dull and incomplete had Mamelodi Sundowns not featured in some bizarre transactions which serve only to expose them as a team who apply little thought to their real needs.
Boosted by the deepest pockets in the domestic league, the Brazilians can afford to entice almost any player, as they did recently when they convinced Edward Manqele to join them from Free State Stars instead of heading to Kaizer Chiefs.
Sundowns also won the race to sign Wayne Arendse and Eleazor Rogers from relegated Cape Town side Santos, no doubt the duo motivated solely by financial gain rather than prospects of fulfilling their potential. As happens with almost every move to Chloorkop these days, it is more about filling the pockets rather than sustaining a career.
But not surprisingly, this transfer-window has also shown that players are starting to wake up to the reality that money is not everything. It is common knowledge that Bafana Bafana defender Mulomowandau Mathoho joined Chiefs at his own insistence, even though his club Bloemfontein Celtic had found Sundowns’ bid more appealing.
In fact as we reported last month, Celtic had agreed terms with Sundowns for the services of Mathoho, having offered R3-million plus two players. Mathoho, however, would hear none of that and remained resolute in his insistence that Naturena was his preferred destination.
Morgan Gould, too, also brushed off belated attempts by Sundowns to persuade him – with some huge cash, of course – from signing with Chiefs.
As the examples of Gould and Mathoho show, Sundowns could in future find it hard to merely splash wads of cash in the hope of securing a player’s signature. While other teams would deliberately trigger an auction and opt for the highest bid, as was the case with Free State Stars in the case of Manqele, players will increasingly have a say as to where their future lies.
Clearly, Manqele did not. He was destined for Chiefs, who offered to more than triple the R12 000 monthly salary he was getting at Stars by increasing it to R50 000, but Sundowns offered R90 000! Sundowns also paid Stars a bigger transfer fee than what Chiefs had offered and Ea Lla Koto, eager to make a huge profit, were left with little choice but to allow their player to head to Chloorkop. All this happened apparently without the involvement of coach Johan Neeskens, who was on holiday.
Of course a scenario of clubs recruiting players without the knowledge of head coaches is a phenomenon not necessarily restricted to Sundowns, but what makes it worse for Brazilians is that all these senseless transactions reinforce the perception that their administration is the dodgiest in the Premiership.
It is surprising that Sundowns can barely do basic things right, yet rush to sign just about every player they hear is available. Only last week, City Press reported how Harold Legodi, the club’s assistant coach, had been working for over six months without a contract.
Legodi was quoted as saying he was leaving the club because, in spite of making numerous attempts to get the club’s hierarchy to resolve his contract issue, he had reached a deadlock.
Then boom, this week Patrice Motsepe, the Sundowns owner, came out with guns blazing, describing how “totally unacceptable” it was for Legodi’s contract not to have been renewed in time.
”This kind of oversight is inexcusable,” Motsepe said, without telling us what action he would take against whoever was responsible for this “oversight”. Legodi, of course, was forced to apologise for having discussed the issue in the media, and is back in the employ of the club.
So all is well then? Not a chance! There’s a lot that Motsepe has to sort out in the Sundowns administration if they are to be taken seriously. Clearly the transfer policy has to be top of the list. It is a mystery why they fall over themselves to pay huge sums for players they don’t really need, while they fail in basics such as renewing an assistant coach’s contract. No wonder some players won't even consider going there. – Saturday Star