Sundowns Foreign Signings Over Limit

The completion of Khama Billiat and Mukuka Mulenga’s signings has ballooned the number of new foreign signings to seven  at Mamelodi Sundowns – spilling way over the limit of five.

Sundowns already have Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila and Togelese midfielder Dove Wome – both of whom were signed during the winter break, and both of whom have already been registered and have featured for the club.

The Brazilians also have Ghana defender Rashid Sumaila – signed way back in February – along with Togelese Emmanuel Mathias, a defender who was signed in July. The fact that these two West Africans have yet to be registered despite having been at the club through all of pre-season training raises question marks about whether they are really needed at Chloorkop.

Why and how they were signed remains a mystery, especially after Pitso Mosimane indicated that he still has three foreign slots to fill – this despite already having both Sumaila and Mathias – after the club played their first game, in which both Malajila and Wome were used as the two foreigners.

Now with Billiat and Mulenga signed – both of whom will definitely be registered – questions will hang over Mathias and Sumaila as only one of them can now be registered if ever the club decides to make use of them.

The next 10 days will determine their fate.

But the complexity of the foreign equation does not end there.

Belgian goalkeeper Glenn Verbauwhede – signed towards the end of last season – brings to seven the number of foreign players that have been signed during Pitso Mosimane’s reign.

Word from within the club is that Verbauwhede will apply for permanent residence under the category of ‘financial independence’ – in the same way Dutch defender Alje Schut did last season straight after arriving from Holland. In this special category, according to Home Affairs legislation, permanent residence maybe issued to a foreign national who has a minimum net worth of R7,5-million and who pays a fee of R75,000.

If successful with his application Verbauwhede will be registered as a non-foreigner, just like Schut.

Mozambican Elias Pelembe, Liberian Anthony Laffor, Zambian Kennedy Mweene and Zimbabwean Esrom Nyandoro all have South African permanent residence, which they qualified for after having spent at least five years working in the country.

With this foreign density Sundowns could actually field a foreign XI as they will have 12 players of foreign descent in their squad.

Added to that, Sundowns also still have Zimbabwean midfielder Lionel Mutizwa contracted to the club, although he is seemingly not in the club’s plans as he is not training with the rest of the first team. The club’s decision to take up the option of extending his contract for a further year in June seems strange, when it was clear he as not be in Mosimane’s plans.

Another two foreigners, Mumuni Abubakar and Emmanuel Baffour – both from Ghana – are not training with the mega-rich club anymore but the situation with their contracts is not clear.