Just last week, Soweto giants raided the Chilli Boys for as many as three players. The Chippa trio of Abel Mabaso, Paseka Mako and Linda Mntambo were all announced as Pirates’ newest signings ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
They joined a long list of players, who have joined the Buccaneers from the Chilli Boys since the latter secured promotion back to the PSL from the National First Division (NFD) in May 2014.
Mpho Mvelase, Nkosinathi Mthiyane, James Okwuosa, Marc Van Heerden, Diamond Thopola, Thamsanqa Sangweni as well as Phetso Maphanga have all secured moves to the Soweto giants down the years.
Three of the above-mentioned have already left the club having failed to make the grade at Pirates. Mvelase, who is a defender-come-midfielder, rejoined Chippa midway through the 2016/17 season after two frustrating seasons at Bucs.
He was soon followed by Nigeria defender Okwuosa, who had moved the Buccaneers in January 2017 along with Van Heerden. Pirates sold him back him to the Chilli Boys ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
Experienced left-back Van Heerden is now a free agent having been released by the club earlier this week. The jury is still out on defenders Thopola and Maphanga, and midfielder Sangweni, who all joined Bucs last January, as they needed some time to adjust to life at Pirates.
The trio found it difficult to command a regular place in the Pirates starting line-up - making a handful of appearances for the team between February and May. Much was expected from Sangweni, but his future with the club is uncertain and recent reports have indicated that he could be offloaded in the off-season.
Despite the lack of impact by players signed from Chippa at the Soweto giants, Bucs opened their cheque book this winter and beefed up their squad with three players from the Eastern Cape side.
However, if Pirates are to keep up with a club like Mamelodi Sundowns, they will have to stop making low key signings from so called ‘smaller clubs’. Such acquisitions have failed to establish themselves at Bucs and help the team challenge for trophies or win them in the last few seasons.
Sundowns are big spenders as they usually go for the best players in the market at top clubs as part of their transfer policy which has paid dividends. The Tshwane giants have enjoyed a lot of success both locally and on the continent - having won seven major trophies since 2014.
They are able attract and sign high quality players by offering lucrative deals.Just recently, South Africa international Andile Jali snubbed his former side Pirates and joined Sundowns, who made an enticing offer to the highly rated midfielder maestro.
Jali follows in the footsteps of Tebogo Langerman, Anthony Laffor, Khama Billiat, Oupa Manyisa and Sibusiso Vilakazi, who have arrived at the Brazilians as high profile new signings from top clubs down the years. They managed to help Sundowns achieve a lot of success - with the club reaping its rewards.
Pirates will have to adopt a similar transfer policy in order to become perennial league title challengers and serial trophy winners again.