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Benni on Sithebe's reported pre-contract with Kaizer Chiefs - 'He is a grown man, he knew what he was doing’

21:57 EAT 02/02/2022
Siyethembe Sithebe & Benni McCarthy, AmaZulu FC, November 2021
Usuthu and Amakhosi have recently not had smooth transactions concerning player transfers between the two clubs

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy says they cannot mould midfielder Siyethemba Sithebe to become a better player only for Kaizer Chiefs to snatch him away, the way they did with defender Sibusiso Mabiliso.

Concerted efforts by Amakhosi to sign Sithebe in January hit a brick wall as AmaZulu demanded cash while Chiefs offered two players in exchange for the dreadlocked star.

Reports have emerged that Sithebe has signed a pre-contract with Chiefs as his AmaZulu contract is set to expire in June.

That means Usuthu might lose Sithebe for free and Benni is not pleased as he recalled how they developed Mabiliso, who signed for Chiefs last July.

“When I came back [from Scotland] we had a few days of pre-season and then the Compact Cup. Monday was the first day I had a full squad training, so I've not really had a moment where I could pull Sithebe aside,” said McCarthy as per Sowetan Live.

“But he's a grown man — he knew what he was doing. And it's been part and parcel of our football since I can remember — nine out of 10 times when a player signs a pre-contract he doesn't play again [at the club he's leaving].

“Because the club doesn't want the player to play, the coach also wants to prepare the young or new players in that place — why prepare a player and make him the best for another club?

“I suffered that with [Chiefs' off-season signing Sibusiso] Mabiliso. AmaZulu turned his football around, he went to the Olympics, and then he said, 'Goodbye', and he's gone to Chiefs.

“And now we're facing a similar situation and you don't want to get bitten on the backside with the same thing happening.”

Towards the close of the mid-season transfer window, AmaZulu president Sandile Zungu was quoted in the media as saying Sithebe will not play for the KwaZulu-Natal outfit again because he entered into a pre-contract with Chiefs.

“I came back and read in the newspapers that, ‘Sithebe is never going to put on an AmaZulu shirt again’. So yeah, you can also understand it from a club point of view,” McCarthy said.

“I did have conversations with the president, and with the board, about us having to be on the same page.

“We can't just do it on an emotional ride and say that I'm not playing the player because he's going to be someone else's player. I don't think that's how life's supposed to be.

“So we want to find the best solution for all parties — for AmaZulu, for the player and his representatives, so that there's an understanding and we can send him off [well].”

Sithebe was not the only player Chiefs entered talks with but failed to sign. The Soweto giants also failed to secure the signatures of Teboho Mokoena and Victor Letsoalo.