Sundowns are currently the runaway leaders in the DStv Premiership, having dominated the league over the past five years. During the recently-closed transfer window, the powerhouse club continued to bolster their squad with the most notable recruitments of Teboho Mokoena, Bradley Ralani, Erwin Saavedra and Abubeker Nasir Ahmed (although the latter was then loaned back to Ethiopia Coffee).
Baxter has suggested it’s impossible to match the financial clout of Sundowns currently: “We will compete with them (Sundowns) but when they have spent over R40 million in this window I don’t think if we go and open a direct fight… if it is a question of who is going to put the most cash out, I’m sure that Sundowns have an advantage over most teams and not just Kaizer Chiefs.”
With this in mind, we unpack some of the figures that have been attributed to the player recruits.
The Brazilians secured the signature of Saavedra from Bolivar on a multi-million rand deal (estimated to be around R12.25 million).
According to KickOff, the Tshwane giants also reportedly spent R4 million to secure the services of Ralani, while Mokoena arrived from SuperSport United on a transaction fee of R15 million.
Meanwhile, the signing of Ahmed is said to have come at a price tag of R6 million from Ethiopian Coffee SC, although the 21-year-old has been loaned back to Ethiopia as Sundowns have already exhausted their foreign quota.
This leads to a total that surpasses the R35 million mark (R37.25m to be exact) on the completion of all transactions, but of course not all of the estimated amounts are necessarily approximate, and more could have been spent – as Baxter has suggested.
Sundowns are also now virtually certain to bank R15 million for winning the DStv Premiership, while they’ve already cashed in R8 million for winning the MTN8.
The CAF Champions League offers further opportunity for money-making while they could also strike it rich in the Nedbank Cup if they go all the way.
Speaking at the media launch for the Nedbank Cup, co-coach Maqoba Mngqithi revealed Sundowns are on a trajectory where they want to be at the same level as powerhouse clubs such as Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca and Zamalek.
“We are looking at our competitors and we are still far behind them in terms of the market value of the players that we bring in.
“We are competing with Al Ahly, Wydad and Zamalek and all these teams in terms of their value and what they bring into the game, make us look like underdogs.
“We have to fight in that space and make sure that we take ourselves to a level that we all believe Sundowns are capable of.”
The 50-year-old emphasised that they are not trying to show off every time they make a big signing.
“At times people think when we sign players for a show off,” he said.
“We are trying to prepare a team that we think based on the challenges that we have seen in the Champions League, we have a bigger responsibility to make sure that we have a team that can compete and represent the country in the bigger scale of things.”