A WEALTHY businessman and a well-known football official are racing to buy Moroka Swallows.
The duo are Limpopo businessman Sannie "Ponko" Marema and former Mamelodi Sundowns boss Natasha Tsichlas. They are after the shares of Swallows' majority shareholder, Dieter Bock, who is selling his stake in the club.
The German businessman, who is unpopular with some of the minority shareholders, has a 90percent stake in the club reportedly worth R50million.
"As I'm talking to you now I'm in our offices in Centurion instructing my lawyers to immediately engage Bock because I don't want to wait long to buy part of his shares," Marema told Sowetan yesterday. The urbane Remoemetsi Roads and Bridges boss is keen to buy 51percent of the shares in the club through Marema Investment, the company's investment wing.
Marema said: "I was over the moon (at the news) that Bock is selling his shares in the club. I don't want to miss the opportunity to own the team that I supported through and through. If it is true that Bock's decision is to get a partner to meet the government's BEE structure, then this is good news."
Tsichlas, who is MD of Thanda Royal Zulu, said this was not the first time she was trying to buy Swallows. "It was two-and-a-half years ago but I failed to get the numbers of Bock and other shareholders," said Tsichlas, who also missed out on Bloemfontein Celtic.
"I have asked my guys to try and trace Bock. I was part of Swallows before I moved to Sundowns. I helped in the marketing and also used to promote matches. My husband Angelo also assisted head coach 'The Godfather' (Mario Tuani). I regarded David Chabeli (Swallows' former major shareholder) like my father."
Asked if BEE would not jeopardise her plans, the Iron Lady of SA football quipped that she was a BEE herself.