CAPE TOWN - Football followers must be scratching their heads in confusion and wondering what all the fuss was about when Rivaldo Coetzee’s proposed move to Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic crashed and burned because of a failed medical examination.
Celtic’s medical team found an “underlying problem with the player’s right foot” - but, just a week later, on the PSL’s transfer deadline day on Thursday, Coetzee landed a transfer from Ajax Cape Town to African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
So many questions: How important is this medical examination, really? Which medical specialist’s opinion holds more water? Isn’t this medical, therefore, perhaps just a tool to be used if a team has changed its mind about a player?
And, importantly, if a player is injured, irrespective of the extent, why would another club want to pay big money to still force through a deal? Surely, it’s a case of buying damaged goods.
The traditional phrase with regard to such transactions is “caveat emptor”, which translates from the Latin as “let the buyer beware”. Questions, questions and more questions the mind boggles.
According to Ajax, Coetzee had independent examinations with two orthopaedic specialists and both disagreed with Celtic’s medical assessment of the player. They believe, with treatment, care and rehabilitation, Coetzee will only miss about 6-8 weeks of action.
Nevertheless, despite the ups and downs over the last week, Coetzee has got his wish. He failed to pitch up for pre-season training at Ajax and, despite subsequently making up with the club, it was always clear that he was fed-up and wanted to move on.
In the end, Thursday’s deal is simply a case of everybody getting what they want: Coetzee is at another club, which is what he has been angling for; Ajax are rid of a player who’s not happy anymore; and Sundowns have the big-name player they have been chasing for quite a while.
The Coetzee transfer to Sundowns was a cash-plus-player deal, with 29-year-old central defender Mario Booysen re-joining Ajax from the Pretoria club.
It’s a welcome return for the experienced player who was born in Bonteheuwel and has a wealth of experience in the PSL.
He was in the Ajax youth academy, promoted to the senior squad in 2007, and then went on to play for Sundowns, Bloemfontein Celtic, Maritzburg United and SuperSport United.
A sign of his stature in the PSL is that he recently captained Bafana Bafana in the African Nations Championship (CHAN), a competition restricted to locally-based players.
So, all in all, probably a good deal for Ajax. And, overall, it has been a great transfer window for the Cape side.
In addition to Booysen, they have also strengthened their defence with the promising Tercious Malepe, on a season-long loan from Orlando Pirates. The 20-year-old has represented South Africa at U20 and U23 level and, last month, played for Bafana Bafana in the Cosafa Cup.
Malepe also captained the SA team at the U20 World Cup in South Korea earlier this year, which means he will link up with his national teammate Grant Margeman.
There was further good news for Ajax in the continued elevation and importance of their youth academy when two 18-year-olds - central defender Dean Solomons and left-wing Leo Thethani - were signed by Dutch giants Ajax Amsterdam. Both have penned four-year contracts.
The exciting young duo is currently in London with SA U20 squad and will join their new club afterwards.
“This is in keeping with the existing licensing agreement which exists between both clubs in looking to advance the careers of the Ajax Cape Town youth players,” said the Cape club in a statement.
“The new management of Ajax Amsterdam, which now includes Marc Overmars and Edwin van der Sar, have taken a special interest in the Academy since they were appointed as Director of Football and CEO respectively.
“Exciting plans between the two clubs are in advanced stages to further enhance the Ajax Academy and will be revealed shortly. They have also earmarked further players currently in the Academy for a move to Amsterdam in the near future.
“Dean and Leo have signed for the Dutch club’s reserve side, with the aim of breaking into the Eredivisie Team within the next couple of seasons.”
Over in the Green Point half of the Mother City, things were a bit quieter, with the high profile transfer of Cape Town City’s star player Lebogang Manyama to Konyaspor in Turkey the only piece of business.
His move, though, like with Coetzee’s during the Celtic deal, is subject to a medical. Manyama is scheduled to have the medical in Turkey once he returns from Bafana Bafana duty.
Sundowns had come in with a late offer for City’s other big name - winger Aubrey Ngoma - but club boss John Comitis wasn’t happy with the amount, and it was rejected.