MAMELODI SUNDOWNS coach Pitso Mosimane has said he would have probably lost all his players if the club had bowed to the huge financial demands of Khama Billiat for the Zimbabwean to remain part of their team. It’s the first time that a high-ranking Sundowns official has revealed that their divorce with Billiat was based on financial disagreements.
The Zimbabwe international moved to join Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs, the biggest and most supported football club in South Africa.
“It’s his decision (to join Chiefs). That’s what he wanted. But it’s important for us as Sundowns to look after the dressing room,” Mosimane told Kick-Off.
“I think everybody knows that we look after our players well, and people know that we are not one of those clubs that don’t pay.
“But, honestly speaking, if we gave Khama what he wanted, that he got from Chiefs, I would lose Themba Zwane, Tiyani Mabunda, Gaston Sirino, even Percy (Tau), who is still our player remember.
“I would lose Denis Onyango, African Player of the Year, Tebogo Langerman . . . I would lose all these players just for one man, no, it’s not possible.”
Mosimane said he looked at the interests of the team, rather than an individual, in Billiat’s case.
“I don’t want to talk about other teams, they know what they’re doing, but Denis Onyango is important to me,” he said.
“It means I must give all these players that kind of money. No, it’s not possible.
“We would lose the dressing room. It’s good for football where Khama went and got the money, because football is a short career, and we’re happy for him.”
“So, I’ll rather lose one player hey. We gave him a good offer. Trust me, it was a big offer. The offer that we gave, he could have been the highest paid player, which would probably have taken four years for that record to be broken.”
However, others have suggested that Billiat was disappointed that he was underpaid for a long time at Sundowns despite being one of the club’s best players in the past three years.
In January last year, Keagan Dolly had to fight tooth and nail to secure a move abroad as Sundowns didn’t want to accept French side Montpellier’s offer for his services.
And the Pretoria side are also facing similar challenges with Tau who is wanted by English Premiership side Brighton & Hove Albion.
Tau is reported to be now begging Sundowns to allow him to go overseas after receiving several offers in recent months.
Brighton & Hove Albion have submitted three written offers for the services of Tau, with the latest offer, believed to be in the region of R34 million.
However, the Brazilians appear reluctant to sell the 24-year-old, and this hasn’t gone down well with Tau and his agent.
Mmatsatsi Sefalafala revealed how Sundowns have been sending them from pillar to post regarding Brighton & Hove Albion’s offer for Tau.
She went further to explain how Tau hasn’t heard from Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe despite several attempts to get his attention and intervention on the matter.
According to Sunday Times, Tau turned down the opportunity to go and watch the FIFA World Cup in Russia with some members of the team as he feels his future hasn’t been prioritised enough.
“We’ve had several meetings with Sundowns and two of them included the president (Motsepe). Around March, I was contacted by Brighton and we started engaging,” Sefalafala told Goal.com.
“Percy was very excited. We agreed that we will break the news to Sundowns after the Barcelona game. Brighton prepared an offer and I sent the offer to Yogesh (Singh) via email.
“Singh said, ‘significantly improve your offer because I won’t even take this to the board.’
“Brighton increased it to £2 million plus a 7,5 percent sell-on. Sundowns said increase the offer significantly. On the other hand, Pitso is busy in the media saying these English teams must not think we are in Burundi.”
Tau’s agent said Sundowns were demanding £4 million, of which £2 million will be payable immediately and £2 million payable in 2019 with no sell-on in order to release Tau.
“Their latest offer is £2,5 million, with £2,2 million payable immediately and £300 000 payable next year in June, plus a 5 percent sell-on. This revised offer was sent to Downs on Thursday night last week,” she explained.
“Last Saturday Tau sent Motsepe a text message requesting the president to, ‘Please help me, I need your assistance, in January we spoke about this, you said if we get an opportunity we will talk’.
“He has not responded until today. Usually, when Percy texts him, he responds immediately. This time around he went quiet. I then received a message from Brighton to say Sundowns have responded and have not moved on the four million.
“This opportunity is hanging by a thread. The sad part is that we have it in black and white that if a bona fide offer comes which the player wishes to accept, both parties, in good faith, shall engage one another in that regard.”
In January this year, reports emerged that Danish side FC Midtjylland, FC Rostov and Dynamo Moscow tabled offers for the speedy attacker, but Sefalafala said the club dragged their feet until the mid-season transfer window closed.
Tau’s current deal with the Tshwane giants will expire in June 2019, and should the club decide against selling him now, they would be running the risk of losing him for free, just as was the case with Billiat.
“We started engaging and Percy was really keen to go at the time. We had several meetings with Sundowns, two of which included the president himself.
“Their plan was to get Percy to renew, but we were not keen on doing that. From past experiences, certain players have had problems to go overseas after having renewed, so we did not want to be locked in a long-term contract,” said Sefalafala.