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Money-Rich Saudi Targeting 3 Downs Stars

After clubs in Saudi Arabia looked at superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, three Mamelodi Sundowns players have also attracted interested from the money-rich clubs after their latest cash injection.

iDiski Times has learned that three Mamelodi Sundowns players, namely Bafana Bafana stars Themba ‘Mshishi’ Zwane, Thapelo Morena and Namibian international striker Peter Shalulile, are just some of the players that are being targeted by Saudi Arabian clubs.

Sources have also revealed that the number of players that the Saudi Arabian clubs are targeting at Sundowns could rise up to five. It’s also believed that the performance of the Brazilians’ in the CAF Champions League this season, which saw them drop out in the semi- finals, eliminated by Wydad Athletic Club on the away goal rule, has been monitored by several clubs.

Saudi Arabian football officials also have strong links with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), having recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with President Patrice Motsepe at the forefront of that partnership.

Two weeks ago, it was widely reported that Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund is looking at taking full control of the kingdom‘s top four football clubs: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, Al Ahli – the former club of Pitso Mosimane, Al Hilal, and Al Ittihad.

The government is said to be looking at reviving a plan to privatise several state-owned sports clubs. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will own 75 percent of these clubs and it’s understood that they will be giving them enough financial boost to lure players from all over the world.

The main aim is believed to be to place the Saudi Pro League amongst the top 10 leagues in the world with the country’s Vision 2030 economic diversification with sports as one of its main pillars.

After French striker Karim Benzema joined Al Ittihad from Real Madrid with his fellow countryman and Chelsea midfield workhorse Ngolo Kante understood to be on his way to the same club, it’s believed that more international stars are being targeted.

With the lucrative African Super League (ASL) set to be staged on the continent later this year, Sundowns would be looking at going full steam for this tournament, which is carrying a prize money of over R110 million after just three to four matches.

After missing out on the CAF Champions League title, the Brazilians are believed to be preparing a strong fight to go for the ASL and it’s still not clear, if they would take the chance of selling their key players to Saudi Arabia.

Sources that iDiski Times have spoken to, hint that for senior players like Zwane, this could be the moment to be allowed and enjoy a fat cheque from the oil-rich country.

This story first appeared in the iDiski Times newspaper, edition 108, which can be read for free on our website.

iDiski Times
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iDiski Times is one of the fastest-growing football brands in South Africa. Boasting a free weekly newspaper as well as a 24/7 news website with top breaking news in the PSL (DStv Premiership, Motsepe Foundation Championship), women's football and all other major tournaments in South Africa and abroad.
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