SuperSport United CEO Stan Matthews opened up on Thatayaone Ditlhokwe signing a pre-contract with Kaizer Chiefs, revealing that they were in advanced negotiations, but things changed when the player changed agents.

Ditlhokwe’s contract with Matsatsantsa is due to expire in June and, as reported by the Siya crew, SuperSport were determined to hold onto the player. The club was in fact in discussions over a new contract with the player before the FIFA World Cup break.

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It seems that no matter how much they tried, nothing worked and the player ended up signing for Amakhosi.

“We were in advanced negotiations with him at the time. Bluntly speaking, TT changed agents last year. He got a new agent. I tried for a couple of months to construct a deal.

“Obviously, the agent took my offers and went and got a better deal. That’s life. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. I have signed hundreds of players at SuperSport on pre-contracts.

“TT is the first player in 20 years that we have lost on a pre-contract, but we have to be true to our funding model and where we are at the moment,” Matthews told the Siya crew.

Matthews says he would have sold the Botswana international captain if he was not strung along.

“We’ve taken a position at the club of what we need to do and how we need to run our club to be sustainable and remain competitive. That means when a player gets beyond a certain level of earnings, it’s better for him to go to another club. Preferably, I would have liked to have sold TT.

“If everyone had been upfront with me about the way this was going, I would have sold TT in July or August last year for whatever price I could get, so that I could re-invest in the football club. But in this instance, I was strung along for a while, believing that there was never a problem and that we were done and that I did not have to worry.

“In the end it made no difference because the kind of numbers we were requested for in the end were completely out the ball park, beyond anything that I could have matched. I (had) to take a step back and say good luck to TT.

“He is a great and humble young man. He is hard working and he is a leader. He has given his all. I am sad that we never won anything with Thatayaone Ditlhokwe. That would have been really cool, but he gave us his all.

“He now has an opportunity to change his life and change the life of his family and go back to Botswana as a wealthy man. How can I begrudge anybody? Of course, I am upset that we did not get an opportunity to recoup our investment on Thatayaone Ditlhokwe. That’s why football is a tricky game.

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“We spent money bringing Thatayaone Ditlhokwe. We looked after him exceptionally well and now I’ve lost an asset and I don’t have the capacity to replace him with anything tangible that I was able to get out of the transfer.

“I am disappointed from that point of view, because other players like Ronwen (Williams) and Tebza (Teboho Mokoena) have empowered me to go out and strengthen the team. But at the same time, I don’t begrudge him.”

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