Fernandez downs Chiefs for Mams
First it was Brian Baloyi. Now yet another top Kaizer Chiefs player, goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez, is joining Patrice Motsepe's big-spending Mamelodi Sundowns.
Fernandez, 29, has secured himself a whopping R10million deal over three seasons - a record signing-on fee in the Premier Soccer League.
His contract with Amakhosi, who have gone through a bad patch this season, will expire at the end of the season.
The move to Sundowns ends speculation that Fernandez was on his way to England, where he was reportedly on the wanted list of Coventry City.
Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung said they threw in the towel after the popular goalkeeper informed them about the move to Sundowns.
"We have had a series of meetings with Rowen to discuss a new contract, but he informed us he is not renewing. Rowen told us he had been offered R10million for three seasons, which is way out of the figures we negotiate in line with our structures," Motaung said.
"There is only one club in South Africa that competes with the Lotto in terms of paying the players. Soccer is business and we cannot stop Rowen from leaving.
"He will be leaving at the end of the season. We wish him all the best," said Motaung, who confirmed that they have agreed new terms with Tinashe Nengomashe.
"We are also talking to Scara (Emmanuel Ngobese)," Motaung said.
Fernandez could not be reached for comment. But Sundowns executive director, Afzal Khan poured cold water on reports that the former BidVest Wits goalkeeper was joining them next season.
"We have Marlin, a goalkeeper who has conceded the least number of goals, 10, this season and we also have a former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper on the bench, Brian Baloyi.
"There is also an Under-20 national goalkeeper (Jackson Mabokgwane) in the team. We do not have a place for another goalie," Khan said.
Other record signing fees in the league were those of Sundowns striker, Peter Ndlovu, and Shaun Bartlett of Chiefs, which were in the region of R3million each.