Orlando Pirates' Matlaba a wanted man in Europe

The two-footed player is most likely to be sold to a European club, if Pirates' asking price is met, Goal exclusively reveals

By Austin Ditlhobolo

Orlando Pirates defender Thabo Matlaba could soon leave Bucs for a Dutch or German club, as there are teams from Europe who are still keen on the services of the highly-rated full-back.

A Pirates official informed Goal that the Parktown-based outfit is open to selling the 27-year-old Bafana Bafana player for the right offer.

"Some European clubs from Holland and Germany want Thabo, despite having extended his contract with the club in the last couple of months," the source told Goal.

Matlaba's first contract with Bucs, which he signed in 2012 when he joined them from Free State Stars, was due to expire next year June. However, Pirates moved swiftly, and handed him a five-year deal in October, which Matlaba signed.

Prior to the Tembisa-born defender inking a new deal with the Buccaneers, Goal was informed of interest from Germany, Israel as well as Holland in the former M Tigers player in June.

"Thabo has done really in last two years for both Bafana and the club, so this doesn't come as a surprise. The club management is well aware of interest from abroad in Thabo," the source said.

"The club is prepared to sell him abroad, if the interested club do things professionally. Just like the Belgian club (KV Oostende) did with Andile (Jali)," the source continued.

"Which is to approach the club, and meet the buy-out clause, and most importantly, the player must also be happy with the potential move." the source concluded.

Matlaba, who returned from injury in December, has made only three appearances for Pirates, two of them from the bench, as his Bucs teammate Patrick Phungwayo has done really well in his absence in the left-back position.

Both Pirates full-backs are part of coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba's 34-man provisional Bafana squad for the upcoming 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Equatorial Guinea.