Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns’ wars over players

Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns are rivals when it comes to players. The to teams have had a number of players who moved from each team to the other over the years but it was not easy for those moves to be completed. The two teams are also known to fight for players on trials to each team. The recent fight was when Chiefs’ trialist was spotted at Sundowns offices after he was released by Amakhosi.

Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung is fuming amid the controversy over who rightfully brought trialist Ismael Olivier Toure to the country: Chiefs or Mamelodi Sundowns? The Ivorian centre back was on trial at Chiefs this month, but failed to impress and was booked on a flight home, only for stories to emerge that the little-known 19-year-old had surfaced at the African champions.

“I think it was unprofessional of the player and whoever took him from the airport. It shows that we are still not matured as people in this game,” lamented Motaung.

“But it is everyone’s right. He is not our player and belongs to a team in Ivory Coast. We have made it clear to the team that we have released the player back to them. If they haven’t tried to get the player back, it is within their rights.

“I can’t say anything about that but for us, fortunately we had time with the player and he was not what we were looking for.

“We are looking for a natural (left sided) central defender and he is one of the players we were looking at but we are not desperate in that position at the moment,” he added.

Toure was not available for comment. But Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane added a new twist to the developments, suggesting Chiefs tried to poach the player. Mosimane was quoted as saying Toure came to the country on the invitation of the Brazilians. Downs spokesman Thulani Thuswa said the club was not going to comment on the matter. Mosimane was quoted as saying the player was expected at Sundowns on January 18, but “disappeared” and ended up at Chiefs.

Motaung couldn’t be reached to comment on Mosimane’s claims. The controversy surrounding Toure was sparked by a statement on the Chiefs website last week.

“Ismael Olivier Toure, a trialist at Kaizer Chiefs, never boarded the plane to return to Ivory Coast. He was released this week and transported to the airport where was checked in at OR Tambo International,” Chiefs wrote on their January 20 post.

“The player arrived in the country on our invitation and therefore it is our responsibility to ensure his safe return. We have notified all the relevant authorities to help establish Toure’s whereabouts.”

Meanwhile, Sundowns have not put a fixed date on a return to action for their two Africa Cup of Nations stars Khama Billiat and Denis Onyango. Forward Billiat was in Gabon with Zimbabwe and goalkeeper Onyango played for Uganda, with both teams knocked out of the continental finals in the first round. The duo did not travel with the Sundowns squad for their camp in Tanzania this week but will link up with their teammates when they return to SA at the weekend.

Kaizer Chiefs are believed to be keeping tabs on Mamelodi Sundowns’ Mzikayise ‘Muzi’ Mashaba as a potential replacement for Tsepo Masilela at the club. The future of Masilela has been up in the air for a while now after he entered into the last five months of his current deal with the Amakhosi, and while Mike Makaab has explained that talks are ongoing, there have been rumours that he is set for an exit from Naturena.

With that in mind, our sources have been informed that Mashaba is on Chiefs’ list of players who could fill the void left by Masilela if he does go. The 28-year-old has struggled to get any sort of regular game time at Chloorkop since his move from Bidvest Wits in 2013 and so far has started just one league game for ‘Downs this season.

Like Masilela, Mashaba is also now in the last five months of his current contract, and his agent, Tim Sukazi, enjoys a strong working relationship with Amakhosi’s management. While a deal isn’t expected to happen before the closure of the transfer window tomorrow, Mashaba could potentially sign a pre-contract with Chiefs if the move suits both parties.

Mamelodi Sundowns recently signed George Lebese from Kaizer Chiefs as the deal was not welcomed by Chiefs fans who felt that their management was poor for letting George leave. He is now warming the bench at Sundowns and was a substitute who was also substituted by Pitso Mosimane in one of Sundowns matches a few weeks ago. George was not happy at all and felt like he was not needed at his new team.

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