Bafana Bafana had 15 debutants at the Africa Cup of Nations. Failure to win a match, however, has ex.
Shilla Kekana alleges that Themba Ngwenya, one of the scouts at the Sundowns' academy, tried in vain to get money from her with promises that this would open doors for her 21-year-old son Thabo to join the side's development team.
Kekana, a gospel singer, actress, and businesswoman from Tembisa, said her refusal to pay Ngwenya an undisclosed amount of money resulted in her traumatised son failing to fulfil his childhood dream of playing for the Brazilians. She said this was despite her son's impressive performance during trials.
"My son was told by their coaches that he had passed the trial and would be part of the development team this year, but that did not happen," Kekana said.
"Themba also informed me that my boy had passed the trials but that we should talk before he could join them.
"He asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I run my own business. He then said I would need to pay the coaches some money to enable my son to join the academy.
"He did not name the price because he was hoping we could meet. I was shocked. I don't have to pay anything for my son to join Mamelodi Sundowns' development team."
Thabo said he was told by one of the development coaches that he had passed the trial but the attacking midfielder could not recall the name of the coach.
Kekana said she reported the matter to Sundowns officials Trott Moloto and Alex Shakoane.
But Kekana's allegations were rubbished by Ngwenya, who added that it was not the first time that he had been subjected to such accusations by parents whose children had attended trials at the team.
"I have been subjected to serious allegations from parents more than what this woman is claiming but their claims lacked substance," said Ngwenya.
"I really don't know what this woman is talking about because we don't charge for trials. If this woman has a case, why don't she come to the club? We have Kenneth Makhanya (Sundowns general manager) who will gladly listen to her story."
Ngwenya is threatening to institute legal action against Kekana if she fails to prove her allegations.
Kekana, who had a cameo role in popular SABC1 soapie Generations, is also contemplating going the legal route.
"I will fight this in court if needs be, but for now I want to discuss the whole matter with the powers that be at Sundowns.
"I spoke to a lady at the PSL who advised me to compile a detailed letter of what happened. I've done that. I'm now waiting for the club management to call me," Kekana told Sowetan yesterday.
She claimed that Moloto and Shakoane promised to come back to her to resolve the matter but had failed to do so.
Moloto does not remember discussing the matter with Kekana.
"We have many players from across the country in our academy. I talk to many parents, so I wouldn't recall talking to this woman," he said.
Moloto also said they don't have 21-year-olds in their development structure.