JOHANNESBURG - A transfer civil war is brewing that could see Mamelodi Sundowns struggle to sign players from Bidvest Wits, Cape Town City and SuperSport United as these three clubs refuse to be bullied into selling their best players.
City and SuperSport, who made up the top four teams in the last campaign along with Sundowns and Wits, are fed up with how the Brazilians have flexed their large financial muscle to lure talent from them to Chloorkop.
At the heart of the impending transfer civil war are allegations from the Citizens and Matsatsantsa a Pitori that Sundowns spoke to their players without their consent, promising those players millions.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was unapologetic at the launch of the 2017/18 season last month after City hit out at his antics.
“In South Africa when you want somebody, people say that you are poaching,” Mosimane said.
“They write letters and want to report you. You want to tell me that Barcelona didn’t speak to (Phillipe) Coutinho before they (sent an offer to Liverpool).
“But in South Africa they write letters. They report you to the PSL and Fifa
“You want to tell me that when Kaizer Chiefs wanted Rama (Ramahlwe Mphahlele) they never spoke to him before they spoke to me? They spoke to him. It’s normal. You do to me and I do to you.
“Gavin Hunt spoke to (Elias) Pelembe before he went there (to Wits). But when I do it, I mean really, let’s belong to the world football. Let’s leave all these things.
“I will talk to your player because (I have to ask them), do you want to play for my team? He must say yes. Imagine, I reach an agreement with the club and the player says that I am not going there.”
SuperSport and the Citizens stood firm in this transfer window to deny Sundowns Aubrey Ngoma and Jeremy Brockie, players that the African champions were prepared to break the bank for.
“It’s not all about money,” SuperSport’s CEO Stanley Matthews said. “Some of the words that are coming out of Chloorkop are more about money. For us it was never about money.
“That’s why I said that they can offer R25-million, we won’t sell Brockie in this window (that closed on Thursday) because we deserve respect as a football club to compete on the continent the way other teams compete there.
“We deserve to have stability in our squad that we have already registered for that competition and we deserve to have an appearance in another cup final.”
The Citizens wrote Sundowns a strongly-worded letter angered by what they deemed “arrogance to believe they are entitled to everyone else’s best players. Maybe they now believe they are above South Africa”.
SuperSport will take it a step further by reporting the Brazilians to the Premier Soccer League.
Sundowns’ tiff with Wits was fuelled by Mosimane labelling the Clever Boys “Stoke City”, and the Brazilians issuing a statement that they will recall Mogakolodi Ngele and Cuthbert Malajila from their loan spell on the day Wits were playing a crucial league match in their quest for their first Absa Premiership title in almost a century.
Sundowns were reported to be after Phakamani Mahlambi, but Wits CEO Jose Ferreira hinted that they will only sell the youngster abroad.
“The days have come and gone where clubs in South Africa could just throw a cheque book to acquire a player,” Ferreira said.
“That’s good for South African football. A South African is an attractive player internationally today. In the past it wasn’t so much.
“The days when South African clubs could come to another South African club and throw an open cheque book are over.”