By Michael Madyira
Masandawana’s meticulous player transfer policy has been largely credited by many as the reason for Mamelodi Sundowns’ dominance in the Premier Soccer League.
Over the years, they have created a ruthless machine, dominating domestic football unchallenged. And their thorough scouting network led by former player Esrom Nyandoro, who travels around the world to watch transfer targets, has resulted in signings that rarely flop.
The Brazilians have even had the luxury to retire or transfer performing players like ex-captain Hlompho Kekana, Wayne Arendse, Tiyani Mabunda and Ricardo Nascimento.
Undoubtedly, they have money and know how to use it and that has afforded them rich depth in their squad.
Week in, week out, Sundowns have to deal with injuries to key players but they still deliver.
They also deal with a crammed fixture programme of balancing between domestic duties and CAF Champions League football.
Since the beginning of the season calls are growing louder for the PSL to introduce financial restrictions in the transfer market.
If implemented, that could tie Sundowns’ hands in the transfer market, but should they be punished for being spot-on with their player recruitment?
Their rivals Chiefs and Pirates have endured more misses than hits in the transfer market in recent seasons and that can be attributed to their limited success on the field.
Before entertaining talk of transfer financial caps in the PSL, there are questions that need to be addressed.
Are Chiefs and Pirates incapacitated to establish a thorough scouting department as Sundowns have done?
Are Chiefs and Pirates so broke that they can’t afford already proven big international players?
But you have a big club like Chiefs adopting a transfer policy of inviting older players for trials and making decisions based on what they saw at Naturena.
For example, Arthur Zwane was assessing 30-year-old forward Balint Bajner, who has a record of having failed at Borussia Dortmund and was even struggling at smaller clubs.
The 28-year-old Mozambique defender Stanley Ratifo has never played top-flight league football in his career.
That is in stark contrast to Downs who went to Uruguay to get Marcelo Allende, a full Chile international who has Arsene Wenger as one of his admirers.
Pirates appear to be making a shift in their policy during the current January transfer window.
The Buccaneers are close to signing Souaibou Marou, a forward who was at the 2022 Fifa World Cup with Cameroon.
Pictured above: Marcelo Allende
Image source: Mamelodi Sundowns