PSL chiefs heap more criticism on Mamelodi Sundowns’ ‘artificial spending’ ahead of Orlando Pirates clash

Lesedi Kapinga, Mamelodi Sundowns, December 2021Backpagepix
  • Matthews has warned against following Sundowns’ transfer model
  • SuperSport boss feels clubs could face extinction with huge outlays
  • Masandawana have been criticised for ‘killing’ the PSL with big spending

WHAT HAPPENED? Matthews is the latest PSL boss to criticise Sundowns’ huge outlay in the transfer market and has cautioned other clubs against following such a model in pursuit of success, saying it could lead to their extinction.

The Brazilians have dominated South African football in the last decade, winning seven titles over that period, and are on course for a record extending sixth in a row, having put together a 14-match winning run.

However, Sundowns’ success has been watered down by their PSL competitors who feel it is ‘bought’ due to the way they entice top players from rival clubs with huge financial offers.

Rhulani Mokwena side have opened up a 21-point gap between them and second-placed Richards Bay, and head into Saturday’s highly-awaited clash against Orlando Pirates with a 24-point cushion over the Buccaneers.

Masandawana have reaped the benefits of a big and highly-talented squad which has allowed Mokwena to field a strong line-up even without up to 12 players due to injury but Matthews feels while it is working for the Brazilians, it would go against the others if they employed a similar approach.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “We have casualties in the PSL. Clubs like Bidvest Wits are not with us anymore. Bloemfontein Celtic isn’t with us anymore,” said Matthews as quoted by iDiski Times.

“So, we also need to be responsible as football, the holistic industry, to make sure that clubs can sustain themselves and be around in 10 or 15 years’ time. And not try to keep up with artificial spending.

“On the one hand, it is a free market [in the PSL because there is no Financial Fair Play, FFP], and if they have got the way in all and the capacity in any club to give themselves 20-30 nice players, good luck. We can’t resent that, we have to find what is true to us, each club.

“I can only speak for my club, I can’t speak for other clubs. For us, we tried not to be tempted and we have in the past overspent openly. When [Stuart] Baxter was the coach, we had a team that lost a lot of money.

“We had spiked the budget to such a level where we were locked in with player contracts and when you don’t win the Nedbank Cup the next year, you don’t get the prize money and you don’t get these things, shareholders are asking, what is going on here?

“You spent all that money and the money doesn’t necessarily translate to success. So, for us, we have to find a model that is right for us, that is why we box as we box.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It is difficult to see Sundowns slowing down even in the face of criticism and their rivals will have to come up with different strategies of stopping them if they cannot compete in the transfer market.

Pirates can gauge how far they are from closing the gap on the champions in Saturday’s encounter which they head into after putting together three straight wins.

The two teams have met three times this season, each winning once, but Sundowns have dominated the fixture after claiming five wins in their last seven meetings.

WHAT’S NEXT? While Sundowns will be looking for a 15th win in a row on Saturday, Pirates can make a statement of intent with what will be their fourth straight victory.

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