Big deals mark end of South African transfer window
The transfer window in South Africa's Premier Soccer League slammed shut with a bang on Thursday after a number of high-profile deals on deadline day.
One of these saw a star name depart the league as reigning PSL Player of the Season Lebogang Manyama joined Turkish side Konyaspor from Cape Town City for a fee believed to be €800 000. That transfer is subject to a medical, but that is unlikely to be an issue and will be conducted when Manyama has completed his national team duty with Bafana Bafana against the Cape Verde Islands over the next five days.
A second massive move saw Rivaldo Coetzee transfer from Ajax Cape Town to African champions Mamelodi Sundowns. Coetzee suffered heart-break when a proposed transfer to Scottish Premier League giants Glasgow Celtic was scuppered by a problem with a bone in his foot that resulted in a failed medical.
Ajax's assessment is that the issue is not serious, and that seems to have been enough for Sundowns, who have signed the 20-year-old to bolster a backline that has at times looked ponderous in the last few months.
But they have not managed to secure the striker that they desperately needed after overtures for SuperSport United's Jeremy Brockie, their number one target in this window, came to nothing. SuperSport rejected both a bid by Sundowns and a transfer request from Brockie, and have said they will not sell this season.
Sundowns had also tried to lure Manyama -- more of an attacking midfielder -- to Chloorkop, but did not meet City's valuation of the player.
They also made a play for Bidvest Wits attacker Phakamani Mahlambi, a scintilating young talent, but that bid was knocked back immediately by the league champions.
Another notable deadline day transfer saw Cameroon midfielder Yazid Atouba join high-flying Maritzburg United from DR Congo side AS Vita Club. The 24-year-old is seen as a straight replacement for playmaker Kurt Lentjies, who left at the end of the last campaign for Chippa United. Atouba also previously played in Major League Soccer with Chicago Fire.
SuperSport signed Wits midfielder Sifiso Myeni on a season-long loan on Thursday, while it was also announced that Ajax Cape Town had sold two of their teenage stars to Ajax Amsterdam. Dean Solomons and Leo Thethani, both 18, will move to the Netherlands next month to further their careers with the Amsterdam giants, having been hand-picked by former Dutch internationals Marc Overmars and Edwin Van der Sar.
They have signed three-year contracts, with the Dutch side having an option for a further season on both that could see them contracted until 2021. Winger Thethani and centreback Solomons played for the Ajax Cape Town Under-19 side on their tour of Europe in June, when they defeated both Manchester United and Real Madrid's junior teams, among others.
It was all a frenetic end to what had otherwise been a relatively sedate window in the weeks preceding, especially in terms of big-name moves.
Wits had made the major pushes in the transfer market with high-profile signings such as Steven Pienaar, Daylon Claasen, Amr Gamal and Montenegrin defender Slavko Damjanovic. They look to have significantly strengthened and also have the bonus of retaining Mahlambi, who had seemed set for a move to Europe, but a three-week trial at Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes came to nothing.
Cape Town City have also had a good window with the arrival of Ayanda Patosi and Teko Modise especially, while Lyle Lakay and Taariq Fielies look solid signings too. They will feel the exit of Manyama, but do have a wealth of attacking midfielders to choose from.
It has not been a particularly inspiring window for the two Soweto giants again as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates rather bumbled their way through it. Chiefs' signings don't have the look of players who will win them the championship, as Bhongolwethu Jayiya, Philani Zulu and Dumisani Zuma all provide attacking options, and Teenage Hadebe adds to the defensive weaponry.
Pirates have perhaps done marginally better in that Thami Sangweni and Musa Nyatama are both solid campaigners and Wayne Sandilands will vastly improve their goalkeeping department.
There was one embarrassing incident for the side when they unveiled Nigerian forward Christian Obiozor before the deal had been done, and he has since been recalled to Enyimba in his homeland. The breakdown of that deal will be especially felt after Zimbabwean international and last season's top-scorer Tendai Ndoro was sold to Saudi Arabian side Al-Faisaly.
SuperSport had a quiet window overall, with their major aim to keep hold of Brockie, while Maritzburg can be pleased with their business that also included the capture of defender Siyanda Xulu and Ghana international goalkeeper Richard Ofori and South African/Australian midfielder Liam Youlley.