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How Pirates Missed Out On Malango

Orlando Pirates missed the chance to sign Democratic Republic of Congo striker Ben Malango and his agent believes no club in the Premier Soccer League can afford him now.

Malango, 28, is a household name in African football due to his exploits with TP Mazembe and Raja Athletic Club and will be remembered for his three goals in the 5-1 aggregate win over Pirates in the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final two seasons ago.

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Raja went on to win the title but it could have been Malango on the other side, according to his representative Faustino Mukandila, who revealed he was in South Africa to secure his free transfer with the Buccaneers before they pulled out of the deal and he later joined the Botola giants.

“I don’t think any teams in South Africa can afford Malango now,” he tells iDiski Times. “His contract in the UAE is too big, it’s more than $1,5-million per year, so I don’t think teams in South Africa can pay that.

“Don’t forget before Malango went to Raja Casablanca, he almost signed for Pirates, he was in South Africa with them, he almost signed. But at the end of the day, Orlando Pirates were scared of TP Mazembe because we had issues with Mazembe.”

Mukandila went on to explain that the Soweto giants were concerned over his contract status as Mazembe claimed he still held one year on his contract, a situation the club stated would be handed to the world football governing body, FIFA.

“His contract was finished and Mazembe was claiming that it wasn’t. And then Moise Katumbi called the Chairman, the Iron Duke, to say listen we have a good relationship with you, don’t sign Malango and he was scared [because a case could go to Fifa],” he continued.

“It never went to FIFA and he went to Raja for free but it could have been different had it not been for the agreement between Khoza and Katumbi, but this is not business. They wanted the player, I was in South Africa, and I met the chairman to draw up the contract. But at the last minute, they said no we’re not going to take the risk [on signing Malango].

“He went to Raja and one year later, they sold him for $3.5-million to Dubai… Raja was not scared and he went there for free.”

Malango, whose contract with Sharjah ends in 2024 has scored 11 goals and registered six assists in 28 games for the club in his debut season as he helped them to second place in the UAE Gulf Pro League.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.