OPINION: By George, is this switch from Chiefs to Sundowns worth it?
Maluleka has penned a pre-contract with the Brazilians. The Tembisa-born midfielder turned down a two-year offer from Amakhosi. But history is against Maluleka. Three players who crossed the floor in the past two decades failed to live up to their billing at Sundowns.
George Lebese endured turbulent times during his stint with Sundowns. He joined Sundowns with high expectations in 2017 after spending nine years at Naturena. He was a darling for Amakhosi because of his vigilant displays.
At Sundowns Lebese struggled to command a regular starting berth and was eventually offloaded on a loan arrangement to SuperSport United where he also struggled last season. In the end, Lebese cut ties with Sundowns and is now plying his trade in America.
Punch Masenamela was also on top of his game in 2011 when he joined the Brazilians. At the time he was the best left back in the country. The 33-year-old was also a regular for Bafana Bafana but once he joined Sundowns his career stalled.
Maluleka will be hoping to end that history even though it has become even tougher to crack into the line-up in the star-studded Chloorkop side in recent years. He will battle for a starting berth with the likes of Hlompho Kekana, Andile Jali and Tiyani Mabunda. These are all seasoned campaigners who have proved their mettle with the league champions.
Maluleka is enjoying his football right now at Chiefs. He has become a vital cog for the Glamour Boys in the middle of the park where he formed a productive partnership with Lebogang Manyama and Willard Katsande. He will be hoping to take that form with him to Sundowns next season.
Bafana coach, Molefi Ntseki, had included him in the Bafana squad that was scheduled to face Sao Tome and Principe in the back to back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before it was cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus worldwide.
Maluleka joined Chiefs in 2014 from SuperSport. In his first season with Amakhosi, he won the Absa Premiership title and the MTN8. It was a great start to his career at Naturena. But since then, it’s been difficult for Maluleka and Amakhosi. They haven’t tasted success in the past five years. If Chiefs finish at the top this season, the midfielder will have added a second league title to his name with the club.@minenhlecr7