Linda Moreotsene and Sello Rabothata
Possibly fearing an exodus from the club after Lerato Chabangu jumped ship yesterday, Mamelodi Sundowns have moved to extend defender Robyn Johannes' contract by three-and-a-half years.
Sundowns have also finally put troublesome Mbulelo "OJ" Mabizela on transfer.
Glyn Binkin, who manages both Chabangu and Johannes, confirmed yesterday that the defender had agreed terms with Downs on Tuesday.
The two players had joined Downs from First Division team University of Pretoria in 2004.
"Robyn indicated he was happy and settled at Sundowns. We managed to get a fantastic deal for him and he is looking forward to continue doing good work for them," Binkin said.
That was not the case with Chabangu, who will next turn out for Downs' cross-town rivals, champions SuperSport United.
Binkin said negotiations held over time to address Chabangu's contract - which was never updated from the one he initially signed when he joined Bafana baStyle - bore no fruit.
"We could not agree on terms with Sundowns. Lerato has been playing under the same contract signed from his days at AmaTuks," Binkin said.
"There were teams interested locally and abroad, but we felt he stood a chance of developing further and starring for the national team with United."
Chabangu, who led Sundowns to countless cup victories and championships, saw newcomers to the team who are still to make any meaningful contribution earn thousands more than him, like Sibusiso Zuma who earns R200 000, Benedict Vilakazi who is reportedly on R150 000 and Collins Mbesuma who is also in the R100000-a-month bracket
Others who are also believed to have come in at more than Chabangu are the likes of Koketso Mmotong and Dario Monteiro.
Making up for their reticence when they barely signed any players, United also acquired the services of Mulondo Sikhwivhilu and Norman Smith from Black Leopards and Thanda Royal Zulu respectively
United chairman Khulu Sibiya confirmed that Sikhwivhilu was given a six-month contract with an option to renew.
Smith confirmed signing a two-and-a-half-year deal, and said he was overjoyed about joining a team of United's calibre.
"I am glad it has finally happened. Now that I'm here I will give it my best shot both in the local arena and in the Champions League," he said.
Sundowns' website last night said: "Sundowns is in discussions with SuperSport United to arrange for immediate transfer of Chabangu during the current open window rather than at the end of the season.
"Mamelodi Sundowns also announces that Mbulelo 'OJ' Mabizela has been placed on transfer and we hope that he can join another club in order to resuscitate and develop his football career."