There's still intrigue in transfer market

Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Many were left stupefied when Leonardo Castro sent his new Kaizer Chief followers into delirium with a cracker of a goal last week Sunday.

So great was the goal that Amakhosi’s general manager Bobby Motaung, who sometimes shares his father Kaizer Motaung’s phlegmatism, was shown on television applauding for what seemed an eternity.

It was not just the technique used by the Colombian marksman, but the part of goal that was rattled by the shot that made it a beauty to behold and it surely is a contender for goal of the season.

This was Castro’s first game - coming in as a late substitute - to give Chiefs a much-needed 2-1 victory over their nemesis Baroka FC.

Prior to this game, the Phefeni Glamour Boys had found Bakgaga to be a tough nut to crack since the latter’s days in lower divisions. It was in fact Chiefs’ first victory over the Limpopo side.

However, what’s more intriguing is that Castro had just moved from Tshwane’s (Pretoria to the old school) Mamelodi Sundowns to join Amakhosi.

And as soccer gods are so wont to get it right, the timing could never had been better as the two soccer giants met at the FNB Stadium this past Saturday evening.

Football aficionados’ appetite had already been whetted in anticipation of seeing how he was to perform against his former club. Some even suggest that maybe he should be left out of the starting line-up to protect him from the pressure.

And indeed, Chiefs coach Steve Komphela left him out of the starting line-up, despite the club being desperate for points to keep up with ’Downs.

Before moving to Chiefs - Castro was part of that destructive CBD that took Sundowns to dizzy heights in the past seasons that saw the club live up its slogan “The Sky is the Limit”. To the uninitiated, CBD was an acronym coined by one football fundi that I fail to pinpoint, for Castro, Kama Billiat and Keagan Dolly.

But he had fallen down the rung when he moved.

It might have been dismantled somehow with Dolly moving overseas, Castro now at Chiefs and Billiat being linked with a move overseas if not to one of the Sundowns’ Johannesburg-based rivals but The Brazilians remain firm favourites to lift this season’s Absa Premiership title.

Just to add more flavour to this game, Chiefs also have Ramahlwe Mphahlele, the right-back signed from Sundowns.

It is not only in South Africa that the transfer period throws some intriguing movement of players.

In Europe, some are still going to take some time to get used to Brazilian midfield maestro Phillippe Coutinho donning Barcelona colours after his move from the Red of Liverpool.

He had a lackluster game in his first match on Sunday against Alaves.

Why, there are still those who do not associate his countryman Neymar Jr with French side Paris Saint-Germain.

In the English Premiership, we will have to get used to seeing Alexis Sanchez in the red of Manchester United instead of Arsenal colours. He made his debut against Yeoville in an FA Cup tie on Friday.

Another move that came as a shock in England during this January open-window period, is that of Theo Walcott from Arsenal to Everton.

Why, I still get confused seeing Petr Cech in Arsenal’s goals instead of those of Chelsea where he was for what seemed like decades.

And here at home, speculation is still rife that Billiat might end up moving just across from Tshwane to Johannesburg while Bidvest Wits captain Thulani Hlatshwayo was linked with a move to Orlando Pirates.

That’s another fascinating facet of this period, it usually becomes very difficult to decipher between fact and mere speculation.

With the January open-window transfer period about to come down and some clubs known to wait until the last day more especially for big-name signings, brace yourself for extreme excitement.

And that’s the rollercoaster that makes us this game so much because it does not provide intrigue on the field but off it as well.

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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