Absa Premiership

Sundowns interested in Bafana midfielder, but...

Andile Jali during Bafana Bafana's goalless draw against Gambia (Getty Images)
Andile Jali during Bafana Bafana's goalless draw against Gambia (Getty Images)

Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns want Bafana Bafana midfielder Andile Jali but have vowed not to break the bank for him.

The Brazilians will also not get involved in a bidding war with other Absa Premiership clubs.

It is believed Jali’s former side, Orlando Pirates, and Kaizer Chiefs are also interested in his services.

On Friday, his Belgian side KV Oostende confirmed parting ways with the 27-year-old with immediate effect.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane confirmed they were in contact with his representatives, but were not in a hurry to conclude the deal.

Mosimane said they were under no pressure to sign the midfielder.

“Can we afford him?” asked Mosimane. “We are talking to his people. He is an important player, but we are not in a hurry.”

Jali’s representative, Mike Makaab, confirmed Sundowns have shown interest but “nothing has been discussed formally”.

He said they had been talking to different clubs after Jali indicated his willingness to return home.

“He could be (playing in the Absa Premiership), but it is not certain,” said Makaab.

Mosimane said factors other than football would determine whether or not they got Jali.

“Sometimes it is not about money only. There are other factors we look at before signing a player. His attitude and behaviour off the field will also influence our decision. We don’t want someone who will destabilise the dressing room.”

He said they would not hesitate to capture Jali if his demands were reasonable.

“It will depend on his mind, finances and humility. Will it be that attitude of ‘I respect what I see and the brand’, or that attitude of ‘Do you know where I come from’? The talent is there and, with his match attitude, he can add value to us.”

Mosimane said most players coming back from abroad have struggled to live up to expectations because of their attitude.

“Who has really made it after coming back? You have a history of all those guys. You can count them - (Collins) Mbesuma, Aaron (Mokoena), (Steven) Pienaar, (Ayanda) Patosi and (Matthew) Patterson. The list is endless. It’s only Benni (McCarthy) who really made it because of his attitude and arrogance.

“When you come from overseas, it is not a given that you will be in the starting line-up. What happens when you are not? Are you going to walk straight into the team and say that you have a tag?”

Mosimane said they had equally good players who play in Jali’s position.

“There is no pressure and we are not aggressive in our pursuit. K (Hlompho Kekana) is 33 this year and, with his experience, he is giving us a lot.

“We still have Lucky (Mohomi), Oupa (Manyisa) and Tiyani (Mabunda). Bangaly (Soumahoro) is also a number six for us.”

While he is ready to welcome Jali, Mosimane was surprised to learn that defender Anele Ngcongca might go back to Belgium.

Ngcongca confirmed he had been in touch with Belgian club Cercle Brugge, which has shown interest in his services.

Mosimane said it was up to the player to decide his future.

“How long has he been here? We have been patient with him and he is getting his footing now. He has not been playing and no one has complained. But you can’t have your cake and eat it. It is up to him how he sees it.”

Mosimane also revealed that the only two players who were likely to leave at the end of the season were Thabo Nthethe and Asavela Mbekile.

“We have suspended our contract negotiations with them until the end of the season.”