'Keeper unlikely to sign new contract

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The marriage between Kaizer Chiefs and first-choice goalkeeper Rowen "Spider" Fernandez might be called off.

It seems unlikely that he will play for the team next season.

Chiefs' general manager, Bobby Motaung, yesterday confirmed that negotiations for a new contract with Fernandez had deadlocked again.

A meeting between Chiefs' management and Fernandez on Tuesday was a follow-up to a bargaining session on Friday. And Friday's talks were the resumption of a meeting that deadlocked two days earlier.

"We have reached deadlock with Rowen," said Motaung.

"We are no longer going to pursue the matter of his contract until the end of the season. We are going to leave it as it is.

"He will still be here because he is contracted to the club until the end of the season.

"We have left it as it is to allow Rowen to focus on the remaining [seven] games of the season."

In an interview with Sowetan last week, Motaung announced that Fernandez had been offered R10million by Mamelodi Sundowns to play for them for three seasons.

Motaung slammed Fernandez's business manager, former professional soccer player Ryan Hartslief, describing him as a "so-called agent".

The alleged pending move to Sundowns was shot down by Patrice Motsepe, Sundowns' president.

Fernandez was at Chiefs' training session yesterday morning, but sold the media a dummy. He promised to make himself available for interviews - but then disappeared. Messages left for him on his cellphone got no response.

Hartslief, who in yesterday's Sowetan said he would issue a statement on the Fernandez saga either yesterday or today, was also not available.

Chiefs seem to be unfazed by the latest events regarding Fernandez because they have other able goalkeepers.

Chiefs' Emile Baron, who was recently laid off with injuries, is a potential Bafana Bafana player.

The team also have Itumeleng Khune, in the under- 23s, and Ryan Wuest, a former international junior keeper.

Motaung assured Chiefs supporters that Emmanuel "Scara" Ngobese and Tinashe Nengomashe had both signed new three-year contracts.

"Players avoid us early in the season to bargain for better offers elsewhere.

"We approach them 14 months or so before the end of their contracts to see what can happen," said Motaung.

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