KAIZER Chiefs have begun what is expected to be a protracted process of refilling their ranks after this week’s dramatic clean-out of players.
But negotiations over new purchases are moving slowly, according to officials, with offers for Thapelo Morena and Sibusiso Vilakazi turned down.
Chiefs have made several bids for the pair, but their respective clubs rejected the money offered.
Vilakazi, who returned to form for Wits near the end of the season, is considering a chance to go to Europe ahead of offers from Chiefs and champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Morena, who is with the Bafana Bafana squad in the Gambia for Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, is a prime target of coach Steve Komphela, but this week said he was staying at his club, Bloemfontein Celtic.
“I have a team to play for and that team … is Celtic,” he said.
Chiefs have also made a move on Justice Chabalala, the Venda-born defender from Free State Stars, and Keegan Buchanan, who is at the end of his contract with Celtic, but spent the second half of the season sidelined through injury.
Three Zimbabwe internationals — Edmore Chirambadare, Mitchell Katsaviro and Kuda Mahachi — are also on the shopping list. Mahachi left Sundowns last season to play for Lamontville Golden Arrows.
Chiefs, who put six players on the transfer list this week, will be looking to use Ivan Bukenya, Edward Manqele, Sula Matovu, Siphelele Mthembu, Bongani Ndulula and Siyanda Xulu as lures in swap deals.
They already brought in left back Sibusiso Khumalo in a swap with Keegan Ritchie, who is going to SuperSport United.
“Chiefs face the added problem of clubs seeking to extract as much money as they can for transfers just because it is Chiefs,” complained the club’s football manager, Bobby Motaung.
Chiefs let 11 players go on top of the six they put on transfer to sweep clean after a disastrous season just completed.
• James Okwousa is set to leave Chippa United behind and join Orlando Pirates, according to club sources.
The Chippa captain, who proved the bedrock of their best season yet, as they finished the Premier Soccer League campaign in sixth place, is at the end of his contract. He has been on offer in the market since January, with discussions held with several teams.
But while league runners-up Wits were among those who turned down a chance to sign him, the Nigerian international is now set to be unveiled as a new Buccaneer, filing the gap left by the recent retirement of Siyabonga Sangweni.
It comes after an impressive season as Chippa finished sixth in the standings, with Okwousa captaining the team and rarely missing a match.
Okwousa won a first cap for the Super Eagles against Bafana in Durban in 2013 and was in contention for a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but did not make the final 23-man Nigerian squad.
He came to SA as a triallist for Ajax Cape Town in 2012. He played for the club in a dream debut against touring Manchester United, but surprisingly Ajax decided not to sign him.
Instead, he was snapped up by neighbours Chippa for whom he was a regular through an unsuccessful season that saw them relegated, and then come back again after one season in the National First Division.