Banned Kaizer Chiefs to miss Bidvest Wits' anticipated clearance sale
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JOHANNESBURG - As Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns queue with their baskets and trolleys for the big clear-out sale that’s apparently going on at Bidvest Wits, looking to beef up their squads for next season, Kaizer Chiefs have been forced to keep their distance.
In February, Chiefs were handed a one-season transfer ban by Fifa after irregularities during the signing of Madagascan Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana from hometown amateur side Fosa Juniors two seasons ago.
The Malagasy outfit felt robbed and subsequently ordered Chiefs to pay a fine of R2.8 million plus five percent interest.
As Amakhosi didn’t comply with the fine, Fosa took the matter to Fifa, who’ve since blocked the Soweto giants from making any signings in the next transfer windows, while Andrianarimanana was banned for four months from playing football.
While Dax, who’s on loan at Black Leopards, finished serving his sentence on Wednesday and became eligible for selection, Chiefs’ appeal to have their ban lifted will only be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) from September 9.
But considering the local transfer window is scheduled to open next month and close by the end of August - although Fifa are saying clubs are allowed to negotiate with outgoing players to remain at their respective clubs until the domestic season is concluded - Chiefs are for now facing the consequences for their actions.
Should the ban be upheld past the two transfer windows, it will be a massive blow for the Premiership log leaders, considering they are in a favourable position to return to continental football next season following a four-year absence.
To add salt to the wounds, as Pirates and Sundowns also have a chance of continuing their African safari - considering they are not far behind Chiefs at the top of the local standings - they could qualify for next year’s continental competitions, the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup, with a fresh army that they would have acquired from old foes.
Wits, one of the oldest clubs in South African football, is reportedly up for sale, following their admission of financial challenges early this season - something that could be influenced by their signing sprees in recent seasons.
Thulani Hlatshwayo is reportedly on his way to Orlando Pirates. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
In recent weeks, it has also come to light that notorious Limpopo businessman Masala Mulaudzi has already deposited R10 million to the Clever Boys as security after selling his GladAfrica Championship side Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila last month.
Given that Mulaudzi is reportedly set on relocating Wits to Limpopo after purchase, a number of stalwarts are said to be keen on remaining in Johannesburg - with some of the big guns being able to possibly match or increase what they were getting from their current employers during their time with the Clever Boys.
According to unnamed sources in media reports, captain Thulani Hlatshwayo and Deon Hotto have already agreed to join Parktown-based Pirates, ditching Sundowns, who also wanted them as a combination that included attacking midfielder Haashim Domingo.
Considering Sundowns could still raid the Wits dressingroom, with Bafana Bafana internationals such as Buhlebuyeza Mkhwanazi, Thabang Monare, Sifiso Hlanti and Gift Motupa still available, there could only two teams who could benefit from the jumble sale in Braamfontein.
Meanwhile, should Chiefs’ ban be lifted from September, it could see them join the so-called “smaller teams” that will be looking to choose from Wits’ leftovers during the January transfer window.