Pitso Mosimane hits back over George Maluleka
Pitso Mosimane has dismissed claims Mamelodi Sundons recruited George Maluleka with the intention of spiting Kaizer Chiefs, as the player's immediate future at Naturena remains in doubt.
With the amount of quality Sundowns have in midfield, many deem the signing of Maluleka as a plan to destabilise Amakhosi in the title run-in.
With eight games to spare, Chiefs are top of the table on 48 points, four ahead of Sundowns in second place, who have a game in hand.
Chiefs announced on Wednesday that the 31-year-old Maluleka would be leaving for Downs at the end of the season after penning a pre-contract. But Mosimane sees nothing sinister about getting Maluleka from their rivals on a pre-contract.
The Brazilians coach reminded Chiefs they signed Katlego Mphela, from them, in a similar fashion in 2013.
"When Chiefs signed Mphela we were fighting for the league, so was that a strategy for them to distract us?" the Sundowns coach asked. "Wits have done that [signing players on pre-contract at this stage of the season], SuperSport have done it.everybody has done it, they [Chiefs] have done it also," Mosimane said.
The Sundowns mentor was reluctant to divulge his plans for Maluleka, insisting the club must officially declare him before he comments about him.
Maluleka, who was included in the Bafana Bafana squad to face Sao Tome and Principe in the back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month, will face a stiff competition from the likes of Andile Jali, Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda and Rivaldo Coetzee at Sundowns.
It has emerged that Chiefs are considering their options over whether to continue fielding Maluleka after this week's announcement. A source revealed yesterday the player might not feature as much in the remaining games, with his loyalty now in doubt after he accepted Downs' overtures.
Meanwhile, Mosimane also revealed they may have to face Highlands Park in the Nedbank Cup last eight at Makhulong Stadium tomorrow (6pm) without four of their influential players in Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino, Tebogo Langerman and Siphelele Mkhulise.
The quartet suffered injuries in their Wednesday's 1-0 away win to Stellenbosch.
"Sirino has got the hamstring. Langerman has got a bone bruise, he could make it but I don't know. Zwane has got a shoulder [injury], you saw he never even celebrated his goal against [Stellies]," stated Mosimane. "I don't think Sirino and Zwane will be available. If they are on the edge of making it or not, I won't take the risk to play them because we have a game on Tuesday [against Pirates]."
Nedbank Cup fixtures
Today: Real Kings v Wits, Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, 8pm
Tomorrow: Baroka v Leopards, Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3pm; Highlands v Sundowns, Makhulong, 6pm
Sunday: TS Sporting v Celtic, Kanyamazane, 3pm
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