Black Aces offer was too good to turn down
The former owners of Mpumalanga Black Aces turned down two advances before accepting John Comitis’ mouth-watering offer, believed to be about R60 million.
Comitis has moved the club to Cape Town and it might be renamed Cape Town City.
City Press has learnt that they were first approached by a consortium led by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and again by an unnamed Gauteng businessman.
“But we were not interested in selling,” insisted Mario Morfou.
In a wide-ranging interview this week at their offices in Melrose Arch Johannesburg, the Morfou brothers – Mario and George – broke their silence and insisted the offer was too good to turn down.
“If we didn’t accept it, someone else would have taken the money,” said Mario, adding they knew of two club bosses who were willing to sell.
Last year, AmaZulu put in a massive offer to purchase the club, but the deal was vetoed by the league.
The brothers said they did not sell because they were experiencing financial difficulties in running the club.
“We spent a lot of money in building the team up to where it is. It’s an expensive exercise to run a PSL club, but fortunately we had sponsors.
“The decision we took is good for football. If we didn’t, we would have neglected the team and maybe it would have gone to relegation.
“John was really persistent and had to convince us as he really wanted this. The deal came at the right time as we had just expanded other areas of our business, which need us to be hands-on. But it was not an easy decision to part with the club, which we owned since 2004.”
Mario played for Aces between 1998 and 2000 and grew to love the brand. The duo said they came close to selling in 2011 after the death of their father.
“He died the same weekend we got relegated and that was too much to take. We wanted to sell then, but decided otherwise, and pumped in money to make sure the team returned to the top league.”
They promised the people of Mpumalanga that their beloved Aces would be back.
“We still own the intellectual property of the club and the name is ours. Maybe we will come back in the future. We owe it to the people of Mpumalanga who have been there for us. We would not have made it without them.”
But they cannot have a club in the PSL or National First Division for 12 months after selling their operating licence, George said.
The decision to sell might have been tough, but the brothers said it was a blessing in disguise.
“To run a club, like any other big business, is not difficult but timeconsuming. We are hands-on in all our businesses and we have a few on the go.”
They said they would still be involved in football through their development structure. “We have one of the best youth structures in Gauteng, which caters for kids between five and 18. Last year, we won three out of the five leagues we competed in, and I can safely say the future looks bright. We are going to put more effort into this structure for now and concentrate on our business for at least a year or two and see what happens next.”
They agreed to take care of the players who were not part of the deal.
“We have retained the staff and we will also take care of the remaining players and try to place them as they still belong to us,” said Mario.
CAPE BOUND Judas Moseamedi is one of the players moving to Cape Town
BUSINESS DECISION Mario and George Morfou have more projects on the go