While Itumeleng Khune kept the country guessing over his next move‚ details of how he demanded bonuses for keeping clean sheets as well as owning his image rights during protracted contract negotiations with Kaizer Chiefs have emerged.
Amakhosi‚ who viewed his requests as “unreasonable”‚ confirmed on Tuesday that they had failed in their efforts to tie the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper to a new deal and he would be allowed to leave for free. Khune was slated by club chairman Kaizer Motaung for being “disrespectful” and holding the club to “ransom”.
Chiefs own the image rights of their players and also have to approve lucrative personal endorsements that are usually brought to their attention by agents. An insider said Khune’s exit was fuelled by the player’s wish to have complete control over the commercial use of his own name.
“They were unreasonable demands‚” the source said. “The club has a structure of how it values its players and that includes owning their image rights. That was not going to change for a single player as it would have purely been double standards. On top of that‚ Khune also wanted to be paid a bonus for every clean sheet that he kept.”
The goalie‚ believed to have attracted interest from Orlando Pirates and big-spenders Mamelodi Sundowns‚ yesterday refused to break his silence. He replied to requests for comment with an SMS saying he would not comment.
Khune’s teammates Tefu Mashamaite and Mandla Masango‚ who followed him out the door at Naturena this week‚ are also yet to publicly tell their side of the story after they — along with their agents — were labelled greedy by Motaung.
Walter Mokoena‚ who was renegotiating Masango’s contract with Chiefs‚ yesterday revealed that he had terminated his relationship with the player as a matter of principle.
“I think it was a good offer that was put on the table‚ but Mandla was not interested and as a result I told him I could not be party to this‚” Mokoena said.
“To be honest‚ I think he was well-paid and lived a good life. Were there elements of greed to what these players sometimes ask for? Yes. If I was him I would have signed the deal‚ especially as a player who was on the brink of being loaned out at the beginning of the season because there were no prospects for him.”
Mokoena said he did not consider himself an agent to Masango but took up an advisory role when he sold the player to Chiefs nearly 11 years ago: “Mandla turns 26 next month and could have had a long career at the club if an overseas move didn’t come his way.
“I took him to the club when he was 15 [he was promoted to the first team two years later] and earned R10‚000. Maybe he will look back and think he should have stayed. But only time will tell.”