Orlando Pirates win race to sign Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo from Bidvest Wits
Orlando Pirates have won the race to sign Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo from Bidvest Wits‚ TimesLIVE has established.
Sources close to the player say Hlatshwayo will pick playing for Pirates rather than Mamelodi Sundowns‚ who had expressed interest in him after it emerged the Wits owners were selling the club.
“Pirates have got him. He has told Sundowns he will join Pirates‚” a source told TimesLIVE.
Majority owners of Wits‚ Bidvest‚ have put the club up for sale and a deal with Limpopo businessman Masala Mulaudzi is already in place.
The impending sale has brought about panic in the club‚ with several players now looking to secure a move and many‚ it is understood‚ reluctant to relocate to Limpopo‚ where the new owners will move the team.
Hlatshwayo‚ 30‚ is arguably Wits’ most prized asset at the moment and it was no surprise that both the Buccaneers and Sundowns were eager to have him.
While Sundowns did the initial approach‚ Pirates are now understood to have won Hlatshwayo’s heart.
His agent Mike Ntombela would not confirm or deny that the central defender is headed to Bucs.
“The fact of the matter is that he belongs to Wits. He renewed his contract and has two years to run still‚” Ntombela said.
“For anything to happen‚ Wits must give the go-ahead.”
But he did confirm there had been interest from both Pirates and Sundowns‚ adding only Hlatshwayo will make a decision on where he wants to play.
“He decides for himself‚ I can only advise here and there‚ but ultimately‚ he decides. He can play at any team‚ including Sundowns and Pirates.”
Hlatshwayo has been on Pirates’ radar for over two years‚ with Wits turning down an offer last year.
The Clever Boys’ hand has now been forced by their impending sale‚ with several other players set to leave the club.
Sundowns had bid for Hlatshwayo‚ Haashim Domingo and Deon Hotto‚ but a source said they will only succeed with Domingo at this stage‚ with Hotto also undecided between going to the Brazilians or Bucs.