Johannesburg — TS Galaxy captain Given Msimango says it was important to stay where he’s valued, amid rumours linking him to Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.
Chiefs are undergoing a reconstruction phase after falling from grace in the last seven seasons, thanks to a trophy drought.
They’ve hired club legend Arthur Zwane as the new coach. An appointment that was backed by management with new arrivals and some departures.
A number of young gems such as Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Dillan Solomons (both 23) and Ashley du Preez, 25, have been added to the mix this winter.
This has meant they had to cut off the deadwood, releasing senior players such as vice-club captain Bernard Parker (35) and Daniel Cardoso (33).
Rumours were rife that Msimango (25) was also on Chiefs’ radar as he was seen as a perfect addition to the youthful defensive unit.
But that wasn’t to be. Instead, the Rockets tied Msimango down on a long-term contract this winter, deeming him the future of the club.
The gulf in history and success between Chiefs and Galaxy is well-documented. But Msimango insisted Chiefs were not serious about signing him.
“As a player, I’d say it’s important to stay where you are wanted and valued,” said Msimango during the club’s celebratory event in KwaMhlanga on Sunday.
“You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are chasing a club. Because when you start doing that, wherever you are going, you won’t be appreciated.
“So having that in mind and many meetings with the chairman (Tim Sukazi) he informed me of how much I was valued by the players and coaches.
“And once that talk happened, knowing that I had a lot to improve on and needed to play regularly, I couldn’t say no to the offer,” Msimango added.
“Of course, the financial incentives behind that also helped. I don’t want to remove that from the topic because it played an important role as well.”
Msimango hasn’t closed the door on moving on in the future though, as long as the offer makes sense to him and Galaxy.
“It’s football, it’s unpredictable. I can’t predict the future and say ‘if so and so come and I’ll say yes’. But if it makes sense for everyone, why not?” he said.
There's a breeze of change blowing through the Rockets camp, with the club making a bold statement ahead of the new season with their new recruits.
Galaxy signed two experienced campaigners Sibusiso Vilakazi and Xola Mlambo, a pair who've won multiple trophies during their long time in the top-flight.
“TS Galaxy is a very ambitious club,” Msimango said. “Our chairman (Tim Sukazi) together with (coach) Zipho (Dlangalala) wants what is best for the team at all times.
“As players we want to improve on the performances of last season. With the quality that we have, we stand a good chance of challenging for top spots.”
All eyes will be on the five-time league winning Vilakazi to see if he can help the team finish in the top half of the table instead of the dreaded 13th spot from last season.
“He’s a natural leader, especially looking at the vast experience that he brings to the club,” Msimango said of Vilakazi’s attributes.
“He was the captain of (Bidvest) Wits at some point. So, we are blessed in abundance with regards to the leaders with the team structures.”