Downs fail in will­ing buyer, seller mar­ket

Rich Premier­ship kids hit a brick wall on three key pur­suits

Sunday Times - - SPORT - By MARC STRYDOM

Mamelodi Sun­downs are like the new, rich, let’s be po­lite and say plus-sized kid who ar­rives at a school buy­ing all the other chil­dren’s sweets.

At first, the other kids are de­lighted at the op­por­tu­nity to make a quick buck. But slowly they wise up, and de­cide they want to keep their best choco­lates. Be­sides, the rich kid has got enough. He can still buy a few liquorice all­sorts.

Sun­downs’ strug­gles to get the play­ers they wanted was a fea­ture of the 2017/18 first trans­fer win­dow, which closed event­fully at the Premier Soc­cer League of­fices in Park­town at mid­night on Thurs­day. Oth­ers were a high per­cent­age of free trans­fers, and the com­pet­i­tive­ness be­tween all the teams.

Sun­downs ag­gres­sively pur­sued strik­ers Le­bo­gang Manyama — sold on the last day to Konyas­por in the Turk­ish Süper Lig, Aubrey Ngoma from Cape Town City and Jeremy Brockie from Su­perS­port United, but met a brick wall.

In a league where sev­eral teams con­sider them­selves se­ri­ous ti­tle chal­lengers, why strengthen the favourites?

Sun­downs’ as­tute com­mu­ni­ca­tions co­or­di­na­tor Thulani Thuswa, who ar­rived at the Premier Soc­cer League of­fices at 11.45pm on Thurs­day as the Brazil­ians chased Ngoma to the end, was asked if he be­lieved the re­sis­tance to sell to his club had been co­or­di­nated. He re­sponded neatly.

“I wouldn’t take it that far. I think I can say that peo­ple are strate­gic in who they sell to. You don’t just sell to your neigh­bour. You don’t just sell to your op­po­si­tion.

“And you don’t sell to strengthen the op­po­si­tion. So, let’s thank the teams who have given us play­ers — Kaizer Chiefs with Ge­orge Lebese, Or­lando Pi­rates with Oupa Many­isa.

“But, you know, it’s a will­ing buyer, will­ing seller mar­ket. If you want to sell to me, you sell to me. If you don’t, you don’t.”

Sun­downs did not do badly in the trans­fer win­dow. Ri­valdo Coet­zee, Bafana Bafana’s 20-year-old kid from Kaka­mas in the North­ern Cape who had reached a ceil­ing at Ajax Cape Town, was swapped on the final day with de­fender Mario Booy­sen on a three­year deal, plus two to re­new.

If any­one can see the de­vel­op­ment the young cen­tre­back needs, it is Sun­downs’ coach Pitso “Jin­gles” Mosi­mane.

It was no­table how, even in a mar­ket where money was tight and free trans­fers the norm, clubs head­hunted their sign­ings far more as­tutely.

Six or seven years ago Mar­itzburg United, per­haps not ad­vised well by their coaches, would sign just about any­body.

This pre­sea­son, un­der an as­tute young head coach in Fadlu Davids, they raised Sun­downs’ ire, beat­ing the Pre­to­ria gi­ants to two tar­gets — Ghana goal­keeper Richard Ofori and then AS Vita Club’s highly rated Cameroo­nian play­maker Yazid Atouba.

The fat kid anal­ogy for Downs only goes so far. Yes they are rich, and their off-field man­age­ment bloated. On the field, they are the sleek ma­chine who won last year’s Caf Cham­pi­ons League.

But Downs’ hero­ics fly­ing the flag have earned them no favours from their ri­vals. Of course not. This is foot­ball and peo­ple want to win.

Pic­tures: Gallo Im­ages

Mamelodi Sun­downs’ new cen­tre­back Ri­valdo Coet­zee is still young and re­quires more de­vel­op­ment.

For­mer Cape Town City striker Le­bo­gang Manyama has found a new home in Turkey

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