Bucs won’t break the bank for anyone

2012-02-04 14:27

Patrice Motsepe, South Africa’s third wealthiest man, last week asked Sifiso Myeni to name his price in return for playing for Motsepe’s Mamelodi Sundowns.

It is history that Myeni turned down the offer and opted for the comparatively poor Orlando Pirates.

It being an open secret that Sundowns can outbid any local club for any player, Pirates must have offered Myeni what money cannot buy – the limelight and the brand building that comes with playing for any of South Africa’s top two clubs, Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

While Sundowns players earn more than their counterparts at the Soweto clubs, very few (if any) of the Downs players can be considered big enough brands in their own right to be personally marketable.

Teko Modise, who in his heyday as a Pirates player had young boys all over the country imitating his Mohawk hairstyle, has fallen off the marketer’s radar.

He might be playing better for Downs, but it is Chiefs’ Siphiwe Tshabalala who is the face of a fish and chips franchise.

Fried chicken company KFC have opted for Itumeleng Khune and Pirates Moeneeb Josephs as the icons in their ads.

So what is it that attracts players to the Pirates ship, especially since Bucs chairman Irvin Khoza has said they will never break the bank for a player?

Khoza said Pirates have never broken the bank to sign a player and were not about to start now.

“We have a limit as a club and we are responsible for preserving our integrity and the stability of the team,” said Khoza.

He said the club’s rich history and not the money was what convinced players to join the club.

The big figures being mentioned as salaries for Myeni and Luis Boa Morte were far from the truth, he said.

It has been reported that both players were on monthly salaries of about R400 000 each, but Khoza refuted this.

“In this economic downturn one needs to be creative in the market. It is how you manage your affairs, so sometimes we enter into swap transfer deals but it is how good you are at negotiation,” said Khoza.

Pirates entered into a swap deal with SuperSport United when Sameegh Doutie and Thandani Ntshumayelo went in opposite directions.

“If I reveal our formula for attracting players it would attract competition, as all the clubs would go for it. At this time we have to tighten up and be creative to survive.

“The market is artificial and you have to have a barometer to do things. We do things within reason because there is life after signing a player and the club must survive.”

He said the club recognises hard work and consistency.

“Regardless of whether the player has a contract or not, if we feel he deserves more we reward him. It is a sign of commitment and sometimes if he gets a Bafana call up we also recognise that.”

Myeni’s decision to snub Sundowns, with all its millions, and opt for Pirates is proof that sometimes football is not all about money but more about being a part of history.

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