In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Sipho Mthembu and Meshack Motloung
Mamelodi Sundowns have flagged offside speculation that they are about to lose their diminutive striker Jose Torrealba to bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
The Brazilians also dismissed suggestions that they were after Congo-Brazzaville international Destin Makita as a replacement for the free-scoring Venezuelan.
"There is no truth in [rumours] that we are recruiting the Congolese striker. Why should we want Torrealba's replacement when he is going nowhere?" asked Sundowns' executive director Afzal Khan.
"When we signed Torrealba, it was for two seasons and we had an option to renew for another two. We have exercised that option, gave him a salary increase and now he must just play.
"The problem is that his agent does not speak English. He thought the contract expires on June 30 and was not aware that we have the option to renew," Khan explained.
But Amakhosi manager Bobby Motaung confirmed yesterday that they have had talks with Torrealba's agent and were awaiting a response.
Sowetan has reliably learnt that Amakhosi are ready to break the bank to acquire the Venezuelan international's services.
Many believe more than Torrealba's talent, prising the nippy striker off the Brazilians would be direct revenge on Sundowns who snatched former Zimbabwean captain Peter Ndlovu from under Amakhosi's noses when they had paid for his flight from Sheffield, England.
"Chiefs are determined to pay for Torrealba. They are aware of his high salary demands and are ready to pay," said a source close to both clubs.
If the deal finally goes through, which is predicted in a matter of days, it will be the first major coup for the current off-season and could signal the beginning of major movement in the local soccer market.
Meanwhile, Sundowns are back at training and will leave for Cape Town this Sunday for a week-long training camp.
"We are back in business. Barcelona is history and supporters must now concentrate on voting the team into the Telkom Charity Cup. We are currently fourth and as defending champions need to qualify for this year's edition," said Khan.