Fifa ban aside, Hlanti dreams of play­ing for Amakhosi

CityPress - - Sport - GOMOLEMO MOTSHWANE gomolemo.motshwane@city press.co.za

Si­fiso Hlanti will not al­low the Fifa trans­fer ban on Kaizer Chiefs to get in the way of re­al­is­ing his dream of play­ing for the pop­u­lar Soweto club.

Hlanti, who is a free agent fol­low­ing the sale of Bid­vest Wits to Lim­popo club Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhand­ila, has been train­ing with Chiefs for the past two weeks.

The tow­er­ing wing-back was among the group of play­ers left in limbo af­ter the sale of the Clever Boys a few months ago.

The 30-year-old is a life­long Chiefs sup­porter and did not hes­i­tate when ac­cept­ing the of­fer from the club to train with them.

The Glam­our Boys are in the mid­dle of a trans­fer ban saga with Fifa, af­ter the club was sanc­tioned for the ir­reg­u­lar sign­ing of Mada­gas­can mid­fielder An­dri­ami­rado “Dax” An­dri­a­na­ri­manana in 2018.

Last month, Chiefs lodged an ap­peal with the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, but they are yet to hear the out­come of their at­tempt to have the ban over­turned.

Hlanti’s man­ager, Sizwe Nt­shangase, said they were wait­ing to see what would tran­spire in the com­ing weeks.

“We have not had any ma­jor talks with the club. They in­vited him to train with the club and that in it­self says a lot about their in­ten­tions. It’s not us who asked Chiefs if Si­fiso can train with them,” Nt­shangase told City Press.

“We are grate­ful to Chiefs for invit­ing him to train with them. Right now, it’s a case of wait and see, be­cause we all know the is­sue of the [Fifa] ban. We will see what hap­pens in the com­ing weeks.”

Nt­shangase ad­mit­ted that it had long been Hlanti’s dream to play for Amakhosi, adding that work­ing with coach Gavin Hunt would also be an ad­van­tage.

“I think play­ing for Chiefs would be a dream come true for any player in the coun­try. I think his whole fam­ily and his friends would be so proud if that was to hap­pen,” said Nt­shangase.

“It’s good that he has a good re­la­tion­ship with coach Gavin and they have worked to­gether for many years. Coach Gavin can get the best out of him. They won tro­phies to­gether at Wits and can win more cups to­gether at Chiefs.”

The agent added that Chiefs would get first pref­er­ence in the ne­go­ti­a­tions for his client.

“See­ing that he is al­ready train­ing with the team, it means we will first lis­ten to what Chiefs say. It will be up to them to de­cide when we can prop­erly ne­go­ti­ate.

“We are ready to sit down and talk. But we must wait for the right time.”

Be­ing with­out a club didn’t stop Hlanti from se­cur­ing a call-up to Bafana Bafana.

Hlanti played for 25 min­utes in South Africa’s 1-1 draw with Namibia in Rusten­burg, North West, on Thurs­day.

He is clearly in coach Molefi Nt­seki’s plans for the Afcon qual­i­fiers next year.

Bafana will take on Zam­bia at the Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium this af­ter­noon.

Nt­shangase said it would be im­por­tant for Hlanti to se­cure his fu­ture to get more na­tional team call-ups.

“We are grate­ful that coach Nt­seki con­tin­ues to show faith in Si­fiso. The mat­ter of his fu­ture can also af­fect his fu­ture with the na­tional team be­cause he needs to be play­ing,” he said.

Hlanti has 21 caps for Bafana and is ex­pected to start ahead of In­no­cent Maela at left-back as Nt­seki makes the fi­nal prepa­ra­tions for the back-to-back Afcon qual­i­fiers against São Tomé and Príncipe next month.

South Africa’s game against Zam­bia kicks off at 3pm, but spec­ta­tors are still pro­hib­ited in line with the strin­gent Covid-19 reg­u­la­tions un­der lock­down level 1.

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPI­X

CHIEFS MAN Si­fiso Hlanti has been train­ing with Amakhosi

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