Kaizer Chiefs recently pulled off a surprise by signing South Africa international Lebogang Manyama.
Premier Soccer League (PSL)'s big three clubs, Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates were all linked with Manyama after he was released by Turkish Super Lig side Konyaspor.
Manyama had complained about shortage of game time at Konyaspor and ultimately, his contract was terminated by mutual agreement a year after he had joined the club from Cape Town City.
Reports indicated that his agent Alfred Phiri, who is a former South Africa international, had advised the player to return home after he became a free agent emerged.
However, Phiri has denied this and disclosed that he “fought” with Manyama to stay in Europe and continue plying his trade there.
“Actually, I tried to talk him out of returning home, but he insisted," Phiri, who spent almost a decade in Turkey, told Mail and Guardian.
Phiri went on to reveal that Manyama rejected an offer from newly promoted Turkish Super Lig outfit BB Erzurumspor.
The Erzurum-based-club then snatched up Siphiwe Tshabalala from PSL giants Kaizer Chiefs after missing out on Manyama.
“They wanted Lebo [Manyama] initially but he turned them down and they went for Shaba," Phiri said.
"I won’t talk about Lebo in this case but, generally, players today just want to play, irrespective of where [they are]," the former Gençlerbirliği SK and Samsunspor midfielder continued.
Phiri, who was part of the Bafana Bafana squad that traveled to France for the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals, stressed the importance of staying in Europe.
"But for [the older generation], it was important to stay in Europe and keep fighting. It builds your character,” Phiri concluded.
Manyama made 10 appearances in all competitions for Konyaspor during his first spell in Europe and he netted two goals in the process.