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Chiefs find allies away from Sundowns and Pirates playground? [Opinion]

Kaizer Chiefs seem to have found a balance in competing with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates for players in the transfer market.

Former Chiefs head coach and currently at Maritzburg United, Ernst Middendorp recently commented on why clubs like Sundowns and Orlando Pirates sign their top players or players from the KwaZulu-Natal region.

Middendorp pointed out most of the players from the Team of Choice have ended up at the Brazilians and to an extent at Pirates, for financial reasons.

"It is a pleasure to see Makaringe, Shandu and a number of other players [at big clubs],” Middendorp told the media after their 4-1 drubbing by Pirates.

“If you play Sundowns, you see four to five players; whatever team you are playing, you will always see players we used to have [at Marizburg]. We have to put more effort in every season… Agree to fill the gaps in terms of the financial point of view, and we also need to put more effort into development and get the players into the right dynamic.

"It is okay if the players have the skills and abilities, Maritzburg should be very proud of it, the majority of the players leaving Maritzburg, it doesn’t matter if it is Maboe, Bandile, Kutumela, Makaringe, De Reuck, they are very influential in their teams, they are in the first 11, [locally] and for national business," he added.

If you really look at it, Chiefs have actually not been able to land some top talent from the likes of Maritzburg in recent times, which begs the question, does the Team of Choice have a special relationship with Sundowns and Pirates, which leaves Chiefs out of the picture when it comes to their top players?

Or Amakhosi have not been prepared to pay the premium money?

Chiefs Sporting Director Kaizer Motaung Jnr indicated at some point that they can't get their targets because some teams don't want to do business with them.

“It’s all about transactions and again we need to understand that a lot of the time, our rivals, people don’t want to do business with you, that’s just the industry you’re in. So I just want to clear it’s a huge misconception [that Chiefs don't want to spend big on transfers]," Motaung Jnr addressed the issue of the complexities in the local transfer market.

However, it seems Amakhosi have found their niche market in the Western Cape, to offset some deals that may not go their way in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Glamour Boys have reportedly concluded the deals of Stellenbosch duo Zitha Kwinika (which was confirmed by head coach Steve Barker) and speedy forward Ashley Du Preez.

According to Soccer Laduma, Chiefs have agreed on a transfer with Stellies for Du Preez and all that is left is for the diminutive attacker to agree personal terms with the Naturena-based side.

Furthermore, in the same article Amakhosi were reportedly looking to sign up and coming defender Athenkosi Mcaba, who has had rave reviews but Stellenbosch tied him on a long-term contract.

As things stand, it seems Chiefs are building relationships with the Western Cape sides, as they were also reportedly interested in signing Cape Town Spurs left-back Rushwin Dortley, who has been reported to be close to signing for an unnamed European club.

Amakhosi could have lost out on some big talent from the KwaZulu-Natal region, Maritzburg in particular, to the likes of Sundowns and Pirates but the emergence of Stellenbosch, who have impressed in the DStv Premiership with a side complimented well by youngsters, could be to their benefit for some years to come, if their relationship gathers momentum and could extend towards the likes of Cape Town Spurs, who are coached by former assistant coach and club Amakhosi legend Shaun Bartlett.

By Thato Bosoga

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Ernst Middendorp Mamelodi Maritzburg United Middendorp Pirates


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