Johannesburg - South African football giants Kaizer Chiefs seem to be getting a reputation as the bad boys and even as bullies on the continent.
The dust has hardly settled after their spat with Madagascar side Fosa Juniors, who accused Amakhosi of poaching and unlawfully signing their star striker Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana during the Cosafa Cup tournament held in Polokwane in June without their knowledge.
Dax was voted the Cosafa player of the tournament.
Now the club from Naturena is engaged in another ugly tug-of-war with one of Kenya’s big clubs Gor Mahia over Ugandan international defender Godfrey Walusimbi.
The player is in South Africa with his agent and has been reported to be training with Amakhosi. But Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung – while admitting the player was here and that they were talking to him, his agent and club – denied he was training with the squad.
On Friday, a livid Mahia coach Dylan Kerr told City Press: “I thought he was joking when he asked for four days off to attend trials.
“Chiefs illegally tapped our player. Chiefs illegally approached Walusimbi and they are 100% in the wrong,” said the 51-year-old UK-born mentor.
“Would they like it if I went behind their back and did what they have done? They have to make a very good offer if they want him. The damage has been done.”
Asked if his star was worth the R3 million price tag being bandied about, he said: “Not a chance, 30 million Kenyan shillings [R4.4 million] minimum.
“Walusimbi said to me: ‘I need four days to go to South Africa to go on trial at Chiefs.’ I thought he was joking. I told him he was an exceptional player and no one goes on trial if they’re exceptional. And the next thing I knew, he was in South Africa.”
But Motaung denies this, saying there was no wrongdoing from Chiefs’ side.
“The player came with his agent and we are talking club to club – they sent a proposal and we’ve sent our counterproposal. I am not talking to the coach [Kerr],” he said, adding that Kerr had every right to be upset as “it’s normal for any coach to feel that way when they lose their top player”.
Chiefs are desperate for a left-back and have so far this season depended on Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya (21) in a slot that was occupied by Tsepo Masilela for a number of seasons until he left the club at the end of last season.
Another contender is Letlhogonolo Mirwa, who was signed from ABC Motsepe League side Buya Msuthu during the off season.
Motaung hopes a deal will be struck for Walusimbi.
When confronted with this information, Kerr insisted that the 28-year-old Uganda international left the east African giants without permission.
The Briton lashed out at the player, his anger further fuelled by the fact that Mahia will be without the highly rated defender in their Confederation Cup home clash against Rayon Sports of Rwanda today.
“Walusimbi cares about himself only. He cost us the CAF Champions League and now has put our chances of proceeding in the Confed Cup at risk,” said the coach in reference to the club’s run in the continental club competitions.
The defender has a history of absconding and his latest disappearing act takes to four the number of official games he has missed in the past weeks.
Kerr said his star had gone AWOL ahead of a Champions League fixture against Espérance in Tunisia, which his side lost 1-0, leading to their demotion to compete in the Confed Cup.
“We are not bullying anyone because these are mature players who are fighting their own life battles. It’s the same thing with Dax,” Motaung said, in reference to the disputed transfer of the Madagascan attacking midfielder.
Motaung argued that the dispute was between Fosa and the player – and not Chiefs.
Dax is in limbo as he waits for clearance before he can kick a ball for Amakhosi.