Percy Tau is likely to break the national transfer record, but Mamelodi Sundowns should feel aggrieved by losing Khama Billiat to Kaizer Chiefs on a free, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Masandawana has certainly come a long way in their quest to become the best team on the African continent.
From frequently chopping and changing coaches (some well-known international names might I add) to trophyless droughts ― the former CAF Champions League winners experienced it all.
However, during the Patrice Motsepe era, there has been one constant ― money and quite an abundance of it.
This didn’t always equate to success though. Looking back a decade ago at Masandawana’s squad, they boasted a ridiculously talented team, with the likes of Mbuelelo Mabizela, Robyn Johannes, Benedict Vilakazi, Kurt Lentjies, Collins Mbesuma, Sibusiso Zuma, Katlego Mphela and Lungisani Ndlela!
The club would find out the hard way that stockpiling talent in a bid for instant success without meticulous planning wasn’t the way to go.
Millions lost in expenditure, while nothing gained in silverware ― these were just some of the lessons Sundowns learned, or so it may appear.
Under the ownership of Motsepe, Sundowns have reportedly spent close to a quarter of a billion rand in building the team in a similar star-studded manner that Real Madrid have done with their ‘Galácticos’ policy.
This policy saw the La Liga giants centre their team around two generations of world-class players in Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham (first era) and Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Luka Modrić, Isco, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos (second era).
So what exactly is the correlation between Madrid and Masandawana?
In anaylysing the departure of former footballer of the season Billiat’s move to Kaizer Chiefs as well as current footballer of the season Tau’s imminent move to Premier League outfit, Brighton and Hove Albion, I believe there is more than one.
The price of having a team full of ‘Galaticos’ is the possible disillusionment of one said superstar(s) within the squad at the expense of the rise of the other(s), forcing them to re-evaluate their position in the team.
I am of the opinion that this is what happened to Billiat. Keep in mind that the 27-year-old was subject to interest from a number of clubs abroad, prior to his contract coming to an end at Chloorkop.
Teko Modise’s form SUFFERED when he was NOT allowed to move from @orlandopirates to the @premierleague with offers made by @stokecity & @WestBromFC_. HOPE that @Masandawana ACCEPT that FINAL R50 million plus offer for Percy Tau SOON. A GOOD preaseason in England will be vital.
— David Minchella (@David_Minchella) July 5, 2018
After years of being the go-to-guy in Sundowns’ attack, the Zimbabwean’s demands for an improved contract at the club reportedly fell on deaf ears, prompting Chiefs to swoop in with an all-round improved package to clinch the player’s services.
Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung even bragged at just how easy signing the former Ajax Cape Town player was.
— TFGSoccerClub (@TFGSoccerClub) July 5, 2018
Despite the eight-time PSL champions insisting that they are in no way blocking Tau’s move abroad, negotiations between the two parties are still said to be on-going, with Brighton’s latest offer being a ‘take-it-or-leave it’ one.
Masandawana are still hoping to receive the full R70-million price-tag they placed on their prized asset, while The Seagulls are hoping to snatch him up for a reported R50-million. The stand-off has resulted in the 24-year-old boycotting training in a bid to force the move.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this saga occur at the club. Siboniso Gaxa and Keagan Dolly were also in limbo prior to their moves abroad.
Best case scenario, Sundowns agree to sell Tau for Brighton’s asking fee, which will smash the most expensive PSL transfer record (R25-million) set by Thulani Serero in 2011 (Ajax CT to Ajax Amsterdam).
There will be difficulties in securing a work permit for the Bafana Bafana international which could result in subsequent loan moves. (Brighton’s boss actually owns Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the Belgian second division)
Worst case scenario, Tau remains in the PSL for another season and is snapped up on a free upon the conclusion of his contract at Chloorkop.
It’s happened before. Call that Khama.