There was no Pirates, no Chiefs – both of them decided to stay away much to the annoyance of their fans – not much of Bidvest Wits who had done their business early in the transfer window. But there was Mamelodi Sundowns as ever is the case and so they got their man in Rivaldo Coetzee, mind you he was not their number one target. Jeremy Brockie was but SuperSport United was not selling despite the player submitting a transfer request a few days earlier.
There were major departures at Kaizer Chiefs too, no not the one many Khosi faithful were calling for but rather their favorite son packed his bags for Polokwane. He joined the other team in that city in the form of Baroka football club. He’s appointment as director of football coincided with the signing of Sphelele Ntshangase from National First Division outfit Black Leopards. That he was a long time Chiefs target meant Baroka had dealt the Khosi fans a double blow in a space of a week. More pain, more misery, slow start to the season and the calls for Coach Steve Komphela to go just grew even more loudly.
The level of investment has plummeted in recent times and Bobby Motaung’s comments haven’t helped matters. “Our search for a proven goal scorer continues” he says but that lit up what was already a blazing fire. They had the whole transfer window to do it yet no one came through the doors bar a few on a Bosman free. “Steve must go” read a banner at FNB stadium in their last game, it did not end there, and some resorted to violence at full-time. Komphela needed police escort to leave the pitch. He might be safe on the job but his is a story of a troubled man. He has been hung out to dry. This is his third season in charge – the first two were trophy less – unless if the Chiefs heirachy open their cheque book again in January he won’t see it out. The transfer window has not been kind to Amakhosi or is it the Chiefs heirachy who do not trust Komphela with their money.
At Orlando Pirates, Captain Oupa Manyisa left for Mamelodi Sundowns. It was a major departure but no one wept for him. He was wished well, for he had become a bit of a passenger in the team. The coach “resigned” with less than two weeks before the season started. In can Milovan Sredojevic for his second stint at the club. By then, Thamsanqa Sangweni had been signed amidst huge fanfair, Innocent Maela arrived too but he’s surname alone does not come with much fanfare. Sangweni is a master of the dark arts in the middle of the park. He is the “devil” that every title chasing team need. Maela too has started well, his crosses alone can guarantee goals if you have strikers of course. Pirates have Thamsanqa Gabuza, a man who rarely scores but puts in the hard work. They have enough of those players, they need goals instead. Fans lived in hope; hope that this transfer window one deadly marksman would be signed. None of that happened, instead Tendai Ndoro – the club’s top goal scorer last season – left. He wasn’t replaced and with it, what could be described as a frustrating transfer window for the Ghost faithful ended.
What happens when a club refuses to sell and keep an “unhappy” player instead?
Barcelona was relentless in their pursuit of Phillipe Coutinho but Liverpool was not selling. Sundowns have Khama Billiat in his last year and refusing to sign a new contract, so do Arsenal, they have Alexis Sanchez who wanted out but they said no. At SuperSport United Jeremy Brockie handed in a transfer request but they stood firm.
So what happens when a club keeps a player against his will? Do they sulk all season long or be a professional about it. Luis Suarez once downed tools at Liverpool and came back to almost lead the Reds to the title. He left a hero the following summer. Sir Alex Ferguson convinced Cristiano Ronaldo to give Manchester United one more year amidst Real Madrid interest. He went on to lift the European cup and left as the reigning world player of the year the season after.
Sometimes it is the other way round. It is the clubs who release players against their will. No player is bigger than the club, being released does not necessarily mean the end of one’s career. Many a player has been transfer listed before and gone on to forge successful careers with another club. Better of some players have been transfer listed only to bounce back and make a success of themselves at the very club that wanted to release them. The transfer window is a stressful period for many a player. The transfer speculation that surrounds players can only lead to more stress. Amid all the media frenzy, have you ever thought about the feelings of the players involved in unwanted transfers?
Put yourself in their shoes. Spare a thought for the families of those aforementioned players. Just imagine going into the “new year” not knowing whether you will have a job or which company you will be working for. Yes all the transfer listed players can still go out there and forge a career with another team but my thoughts are with them at this moment in time. Spare a thought for Thomas Lemar, spare a thought for Alexis Sanchez. Yes they might have wanted a move to win silverware somewhere but only they know whether that was the only motivation. Yes they are professionals but let’s not forget these players, our players are humans too.
Who has the power when it comes to transfers, players or clubs? The above aforementioned shows it is the clubs. But for how long will that remain the case. Not long I believe. It is the world we live in, it is the madness of the transfer window and now that it’s shut, I close my case too.
Now that the cheque books have been closed, now that the madness has come and gone, now that the speculations are over, now that some coaches can sleep easy, now that we are here. Let’s enjoy the football on the pitch for the transfer window is yesterday’s story.