Everyone has their own agenda
We have illustrated examples of what the Siya crew has to face with cubs on a daily basis as they protect their own interest and agendas. It’s not unique to the media or clubs in South Africa. It happens all over the world, and the examples illustrated be
Solinas, Carteron talk as Middendorp came in
It is thought one of the reasons why Kaizer Chiefs players lost faith in Giovanni Solinas was the constant reminder that the Italian was never the club’s first choice. To an extent, he’d long been undermined by chairman Kaizer Motaung when he told journalists in September that the Italian was quite possibly hired because he was their only viable option as they ran out of time to replace Steve Komphela before the start of a new campaign.
The Siya crew then revealed in early November that Solinas was facing early pressure at the club and had subsequently been informed that the club was assessing options to replace the Italian.
At the time, Chiefs’ football manager, Bobby Motaung, told TimesLIVE, “There’s nothing of such. I think it’s just speculation – it’s media speculation. We have not engaged with any other coach. We have got a coach at the moment.”
If the club had been looking to change their head coach, it’s understandable why they would deny the news despite it being true. No club will want to disrupt the team or the technical bench - up until a final decision is made.
The Siya crew was then informed that Chiefs were in talks with Patrice Carteron’s camp, only days before Ernst Middendorp was announced as the new Chiefs head coach. Motaung has since denied any correspondence with the Frenchman.
“I am the one responsible for contacting coaches, even if the mandate is from the club. But I have never contacted him and I have never contacted his agent,” Motaung told KickOff.
“I have never met the guy, I have never interviewed him. So there’s nothing of such.”
Carteron, however, had confirmed offers from both Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs before taking the job with Al Ahly, in Egypt, earlier this year, while Carteron’s representatives in South Africa confirmed talks with the Soweto giants to the Siya crew earlier in the month.
Karabo Mathang of P Management, who represent Carteron in South Africa, confirmed to the Siya crew last week that they had been in talks, “Yes, we were talking to Chiefs about him (Patrice Carteron) and we were waiting to hear back from them. That’s where it ended.”
Castro denied, Ngoma almost fell apart
Chiefs also denied being interested in striker Leonardo Castro. The Siya crew first broke the news in January of 2017, in “Chiefs sniffing around for Castro” story – a year before they eventually confirmed it.
Amakhosi denied any interest in the player leading up to the transfer, but in January of 2018, the player was confirmed as a Chiefs player.
The club would not have been in a position to confirm any interest unless they had approached Sundowns, due to the fact the Colombian was under contract.
The Aubrey Ngoma to Mamelodi Sundowns saga is a case in point. Of course the winger ended up becoming a Downs player, but the two parties very nearly walked away from concluding a deal because coach Pitso Mosimane prematurely discussed what was going on behind the scenes, much to the ire of Cape Town City boss John Comitis, who wrote a letter slamming the Brazilians and accusing them of tapping up the player.
Most recently, City paraded striker Kermit Erasmus, but Comitis had deliberately denied any interest in the player just days before. Comitis questioned, ‘Kermit who?’ when asked of the interest by KickOff.
It’s a massive – yet unexpected – signing. The Mother City outfit have often played the ignorant cousin to news about their player movements. But was it necessary to deny it? They will argue it was.
For instance, Sundowns were apparently in on the player too, until the very last minute, and it made complete sense to them to not give their position away.
Comitis made it clear that a club cannot confirm until the very end. “Until that last document is signed, it can go either way. You cannot confirm a deal until you hold the signed contract in your hand.”
Silva took a plane to Gauteng instead
Toni Silva had both Sundowns and City as options prior to his move to the PSL, but in the end, chose the Brazilians in another example of things changing at a drop of a hat.
This illustrates how quickly a deal can change direction.
Silva was expected in Cape Town. All indications were that he had agreed to join the Citizens... all that was missing was the signature.
It was leaked that he was about to sign for City, and the club lost their position, which allowed Sundowns the opportunity to snatch the player from under their noses.
It’s not unique to Mzansi. Remember how Tottenham Hotspur were outraged at how Chelsea hijacked their Willian deal five years ago?
‘Secrecy is king’…you don’t want to be embarrassed
PSL teams insist they have their integrity to protect, even when the news have long been leaked or extensively reported on. One of the clubs that has made it standard practice to wait until the very last minute to disclose what may appear as crucial and pressing information by the public or the press is Bidvest Wits – and CEO Jose Ferreira told the Siya crew that “secrecy is king”.
“You don’t want to let the cat out of the bag prematurely. And part of it is that you don’t want to be embarrassed,” Ferreira explained. “It has happened before that another club only ever has an interest in a particular player because you are suddenly keen on them.
“So secrecy is king – you have got to protect your interest and make sure that whoever you are trying to bring on board, a coach or a player, is not victimised by their current employer. It happens all the time.”
Pirates try to control leaks
If there is any team in the country that is extremely good at playing their cards close to their chest, it’s Orlando Pirates. Chairman Irvin Khoza has often boasted to the media about being able to deny them a scoop – setting enough suspense to give his press conferences the kind of hype that is deserving of breaking news. Floyd Mbele, the club’s top administrator and Khoza’s right hand man, says bowing to the pressure of the public isn’t worth hurting a potentially good deal.
“You need to be aware that there may be other factors that have an impact of a particular transaction. It is never an easy process. For instance, you need to check whether you are not in breach of a previous contract if you are signing a new coach or a player – are there other contractual obligations that you could have ignored? It is the same even when someone comes at the end of the season,” Mbele said.
“The season ends in May, but a contract runs until June 30 so there are obligations to be completed and that needs to be taken into account – that team can suspend you and that then complicates your next transfer. We try to control leaks, but when that’s not possible, it is still the club’s responsibility to do things in an appropriate manner. If you do what is right, there can never be pressure.”
If there are leaks, current employers can make it difficult
When there were reports of the sale of Free State Stars, there was hardly a murmur from the club. It was only when it became crystal clear that the possible purchase by an unnamed consortium had fallen through that Ea Lla Koto broke their silence. Rantsi Mokoena, the club’s general manager, says this was done purely because things can change with a blink of an eye.
“It’s simple really, I have learnt that until you have signed documents you don’t announce anything,” Mokena argued. “This is football and things can turn very quickly. Remember that clubs do local deals with each other from time to time – and if there are leaks, current employers can make it difficult for the person on the way out.” ❐