Sifiso Hlanti will not allow the Fifa transfer ban on Kaizer Chiefs to get in the way of realising his dream of playing for the popular Soweto club.
Hlanti, who is a free agent following the sale of Bidvest Wits to Limpopo club Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, has been training with Chiefs for the past two weeks.
The towering wingback was among the group of players left in limbo after the sale of the Clever Boys a few months ago.
The 30-year-old is a lifelong Chiefs supporter and did not hesitate when accepting the offer from the club to train with them.
The Glamour Boys are in the middle of a transfer ban saga with Fifa, after the club was sanctioned for the irregular signing of Madagascan midfielder Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana in 2018.
Last month, Chiefs lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but they are yet to hear the outcome of their attempt to have the ban overturned.
Hlanti’s manager, Sizwe Ntshangase, said they were waiting to see what would transpire in the coming weeks.
“We have not had any major talks with the club. They invited him to train with the club and that in itself says a lot about their intentions. It’s not us who asked Chiefs if Sifiso can train with them,” Ntshangase told City Press.
“We are grateful to Chiefs for inviting him to train with them. Right now it’s a case of wait and see because we all know the issue of the [Fifa] ban. We will see what happens in the coming weeks.”
Ntshangase admitted that it had long been Hlanti’s dream to play for Amakhosi, adding that working with coach Gavin Hunt would also be an advantage.
“I think playing for Chiefs would be a dream come true for any player in the country. I think his whole family and his friends would be so proud if that was to happen,” said Ntshangase.
“It’s good that he has a good relationship with coach Gavin and they have worked together for many years. Coach Gavin can get the best out of him. They won trophies together at Wits and can win more cups together at Chiefs.”
The agent added that Chiefs would get first preference in the negotiations for his client.
“Seeing that he is already training with the team, it means we will first listen to what Chiefs say. It will be up to them to decide when we can properly negotiate.
“We are ready to sit down and talk. But we must wait for the right time.”
Being without a club didn’t stop Hlanti from securing a call-up to Bafana Bafana. He played for 25 minutes in South Africa’s 1-1 draw with Namibia in Rustenburg, North West, on Thursday. He is clearly in coach Molefi Ntseki’s plans for the Afcon qualifiers next year.
Bafana will take on Zambia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium this afternoon.
Ntshangase said it would be important for Hlanti to secure his future to get more national team call-ups.
Hlanti has 21 caps for Bafana and is expected to start ahead of Innocent Maela at left-back as Ntseki makes the final preparations for the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against São Tomé and Príncipe next month.
South Africa’s game against Zambia kicks off at 3pm, but spectators are still prohibited in line with Covid-19 regulations under lockdown level 1.