Sundowns promote six academy players

BUILDER: Sundowns coach Ted Dumitru. 16/05/09. © Gallo Images.
BUILDER: Sundowns coach Ted Dumitru. 16/05/09. © Gallo Images.

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

In a departure from their usual extravagant signings, Mamelodi Sundowns will promote six players from their development academy to the first team in the new season.

Sundowns interim coach Ted Dumitru made this announcement at a supporters meeting in Mamelodi on Sunday, when Downs supporters met with club president Patrice Motsepe and his management team.

Motsepe had to field questions from irate supporters, who wanted to know why a team which boasts the highest paid players, has the most lucrative bonus structure and the highest signing-on fees in the Absa Premiership had failed to secure a top-eight finish.

Dumitru yesterday offered a defence for this dismal state of affairs, saying the process of getting the team to the standard they aspire to was going to take some time.

"For us to get the right players in the team was always going to be a trial and error process. Look at a team like Manchester City - they spent a lot of money on their players and are still struggling. It is a process where you have to learn how to invest," said Dumitru.

"I don't think people should criticise the act of investing in our football itself. The questions should be in the way we develop and recruit, so we can produce the right results."

Dumitru also accused some agents of negotiating in bad faith during contract negotiations.

"We have in the past been led to believe that a player carried no injuries, when the opposite was true. From now on, all the players that we sign would be taken through a rigorous performance test, over and above mandatory medical tests."