- Published on 25 June 2016
Mamelodi Sundowns captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele has been offered a R30 000 less monthly salary by his own club than a rival offer by Kaizer Chiefs.
This is believed to be the stumbling block in the right-back putting pen to paper on a new contract at Sundowns‚ and the reason Mphahlele did not make the trip with the squad that left on Tuesday to play ES Setif in Algeria in Sundowns’ first Caf Champions League group stage match on Saturday.
Times Media has learnt that Mphahlele has been offered R120 000 to move from Downs’ Chloorkop base to Chiefs at Naturena. Sundowns have counter-offered with R90 000.
This while some senior players well into their 30s who play less regularly are on salaries reported to be above R300 000.
Brazilians coach Pitso Mosimane‚ who is believed not to have finalised a new deal himself despite winning four trophies in three seasons and a league and cup double in the past campaign‚ was apparently sympathetic to Mphahlele’s cause and agreed for the captain to remain at home.
And Mphahlele’s contractual issue was apparently the tip of Mosimane’s iceberg of problems scrambling for a squad for his side’s match against Setif.
Mosimane eventually managed an 18-man squad‚ though arrived at OR Tambo International Airport more than an hour later than scheduled because of last-minute scrambling for players.
The figure of 18 was only reached because midfielder Tiyani Mabunda was registered at the last minute for the Champions League on Monday‚ with his visa secured on Tuesday morning.
And even then‚ apparently stemming from Downs’ chaotic backroom management modus operandi‚ six of the players Mosimane has taken to Algeria have contract negotiations with Downs that are up in the air at the moment.
All of which came to a head just when Sundowns had to rely on their players’ commitment signing up for practically no off-season as they got an unexpected lifeline to the Champions League group stages.
This after Downs’ second round opponents‚ AS Vita Club of Democratic Republic of Congo‚ were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player.
Striker Leonardo Castro has reported to duty from Colombia apparently out of loyalty as he has not had finality to a renewal of his one-year contract. As has Zimbabwean Cuthbert Malajila.
Sundowns have also been hit by injuries‚ and goalkeeper Denis Onyango and left-back Tebogo Langerman are suspended.
In his press conference at the airport before leaving for Algeria‚ Mosimane‚ hinted at the challenges he had faced assembling a squad.
“We are thin now. Because we have people with flu – Teko Modise has flu. We’ve brought him in hoping he’s Okay by Saturday‚” Mosimane said.
“Mabunda has got flu. We’re registering him because he’s done very well for himself. Soumahoro Bangaly and Cuthbert Malajila have flu.
“Anthony Laffor is not with us because he has got disciplinary issues.
“Katlego Mashego was registered but his contract is ending. And he has the right not to continue because he feels that maybe at this point in time he should be looking for another team‚ because we’ve made him aware that we’re not going to renew the contract for next year.
“In his own discussion he expressed that perhaps he should be looking for a new club rather than honouring the last 15 days of his contract. But also he has a contract.
“But those are the issues that we have had. Rama [Mphahlele] is not going [to Algeria]‚ because he also has contractual issues.”
Sundowns’ convoluted and overblown management structure has been a source of well-documented backroom inefficiency in the past.
Their latest issues surrounding delays renewing contracts are believed to stem from the high number of chains of command that have to be consulted in order for decisions to be made.
Downs have also been drawn with Nigeria’s Enyimba and Egyptian giants Zamalek on the Champions League’s Group B.