Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that players and coaches from almost every team have been linked with moves, have transfer rumours swirling around them, have had players and coaches approached by possible suitors - barring one. One club, and a club that more than any other has every reason to have transfer rumours doing the rounds, has close to zero confirmed interest in any of their players or coaching staff.
I can categorically tell you that when the Siya crew contacts agents of players that belong to Orlando Pirates, the agents don’t want to speak openly about any interest. For the most part they just won’t comment on any matter regarding Orlando Pirates. Let’s be very frank here. Even though Roger de Sa has been said to be skating on thin ice ever since Pirates were embarrassingly knocked out of the Nedbank Cup, not a single club has publicly declared interest in Roger should he move on from Orlando Pirates. There is speculation about Gavin Hunt, there is speculation about Cavin Johnson, there is talk about Ernst Middendorp not having signed a new contract, clubs are speaking to Mark Harrison on the sly, but not a word on Roger de Sa. Why?
Moeneeb Josephs, without a doubt one of South Africa’s top goalkeepers, a player who is clearly unhappy at Orlando Pirates and whose contract is supposedly expiring at the end of the season should be a target for so many clubs in the PSL, yet not one club is willing to come out and publicly declare any interest in the player. When I pick up a phone to his representatives, there is clear discomfort on the other end of the line and certainly nobody wants to declare that talks are on the go with any potential suitors. Yet Ajax Cape Town clearly need a goalkeeper, Wits should be banging down the door to get Moeneeb, but no club wants to be associated with a proven match winner! Why?
Benni McCarthy, a legend, a player who when fit still has goals aplenty in him, a player whose contract is up at the end of the season and still not a word of renegotiation has been spoken. Yet not a single club has said they want the striker. Not one single club has publicly acknowledged they are talking to the striker, a player who they could get on a free! And based on the fact that top goal scorers in the PSL can’t get to the 15-goal mark, Benni is still good enough to play for any PSL club and make a difference. But a deafening hush has descended around the player, with no club claiming they want him. Why?
Tlou Segolela, a match winner, a flying wing wizard, a player that may or may not have a one-year option which Orlando Pirates may or may not exercise, and yet not a single enquiry, no interest from any club, or so it seems. Mark Mayambela, a player who gets bums in seats! A player that club bosses know will help fill stadiums, a player who is on a free, and yet not the smallest whisper of any club coming forward to claim what would be a prize signing. Why?
Only one club owner would tell me why, and I quote, “Would you declare interest in Moeneeb Josephs knowing that Irvin Khoza may still want him? Do you want to be the club that takes a player away from Orlando Pirates?”
Only one agent would verify it, “You just don’t know if a player is on a free until Irvin Khoza says he is.”
The truth of the matter is that while Kaizer Chiefs may well be the new champions of the PSL, and while Kaizer Motaung may be the toast of the town in South African football, there is no doubt whatsoever that the man in South African football who commands the most respect, who strikes fear into the hearts of those in the soccer industry, is undoubtedly Irvin Khoza.
Having recently moved more actively into our Siyagobhoza team, and in so doing making a lot more phone calls to agents and club owners, a picture is quickly emerging that Doctor Irvin Khoza’s nickname, ‘The Iron Duke’ is most fitting for a man who undoubtedly rules his kingdom, Orlando Pirates and the PSL, with an iron fist.
Knowing what I know now, I have no doubt in my mind that the Iron Duke will not rest for a second until that league trophy is back in his Parktown offices. If Stuart Baxter thought winning the PSL title was tough, just wait until he tries to defend it.