Chiefs set sights on signing Mphela
24 August 2012 | jabu matthews
Three separate sources, one from within Kaizer Chiefs themselves, revealed to this newspaper that Amakhosi are looking to bring the Bafana Bafana forward to Naturena, but will in all likelihood not do so in this transfer window.
Mphela is currently in recovery from knee surgery and is unlikely to be back in action until October at the very least.
And although the player himself is known to be keen on a switch to Chiefs, he is also hoping to be fit for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, which could provide him with one more opportunity to steal the international limelight and win a move back to Europe.
Chiefs’ strikers have hit form in recent weeks, with Bernard Parker and Kingston Nkhatha in particular looking dangerous. They also have Lehlohonolo Majoro, Sthembiso Ngcobo and Kaizer Motaung Jnr in reserve, as well as 17-year-old starlet Sakhile Hlongwa.
But the addition of Mphela, a proven PSL goalscorer, is seen as possibly the final piece of the puzzle for a team who had among the worst scoring record in the top-flight last season.
Chiefs managed just 35 goals in 30 games in the League in the 2011/12 campaign – only relegated Jomo Cosmos and Santos, as well as Bidvest Wits, Maritzburg United and AmaZulu scored less.
But the big sticking point in any transfer for Mphela is the unrealistic price-tag placed by Sundowns on their players.
Mphela will be hoping that should clubs come knocking for his services in the next transfer window that the Brazilians make market-related demands for a transfer fee.
They have already rejected a R15-million offer from Birmingham City in England directly after the 2010 Fifa World Cup, but with the player now more than two years older, they should lower that estimation. Mphela has been at loggerheads with Downs before though, famously going on strike in early 2011 after the club blocked yet another move to Europe for him.
Those weeks out of the game for Mphela cost him both in the pocket and in the goal scoring race that season, meaning he failed to become the first South African in 30 years to win the top-flight Golden Boot two seasons in a row.
It also severely dented Sundowns’ title hopes at a key juncture of the league championship race. The team looked listless without Mphela at the helm of their attack and ultimately fell short in their bid to take the title.
Mphela has already tried his luck in Europe, taken from Brits to France as a prodigious teenage talent after being discovered by Jomo Sono, but eventually unable to made the grade at Racing Strasbourg.
In hindsight, he was too young to cope with the pressure of being away from home and in such an alien environment at such a tender age.
But since returning home he had proven his ability and gone on to establish a regular place for himself in the national side. Mphela now has 47 caps for the country and 23 goals, an excellent return for any striker in the world.
He has also won a championship with SuperSport United before being involved in a then record-breaking R5-million transfer to Sundowns in mid-2008.
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