Details have emerged of the underhand dealings that characterised Nyasa Big Bullets defender Miracle Gabeya’s failed deal with South African Premier Soccer League outfit Highlands Park.
According to e-mail correspondence between the South African club and facilitator of the deal—former Bullets and Flames captain Patrick Mabedi—the South African club was meant to believe that Bullets made a $35 000 (about K25 million) offer for the blossoming defender.
“ [This] serves to confirm that Highlands Park FC accept Nyasa [Big] Bullets asking price of 35 000 US dollars for Miracle Gabeya. This amount [is] to be paid 50 percent on the successful registration of the player in the current January 2017 transfer window and 50 percent on or before 31 July 2017,” reads part of the e-mail from the South African club’s co-chairperson Larry Brookstone dated January 27.
But Bullets acting general secretary Grivin Bize-Kalozeni yesterday claimed that his club never made such an offer in the first place.
“We never made such offer. The initial offer that we got from Mabedi, purpotedly from the club was R50 000 [about K2.75 million] and our response was that a player of Gabeya’s calibre, who is a national team player and still young, was worth more.
“Then he came back to us later on with a slightly improved offer of R100 000 [about K5.5 million], we argued that it was still on the lower side and suggested that if that was the case, then it should be put at R200 000 [about K11 million],” explained Kalozeni.
Part of the letter which Mabedi sent to Bullets through e-mail on January 30, purpotedly from the Highlands Park chairperson reads: “Highlands Park is offering Nyasa Big Bullets R100 000 for the player Mr. Miracle Jecup Gabeya. This amount is to be paid as follows—50 percent on the successful registration of the player in the current January 2017 transfer window and 50 percent on or before 31 July 2017.”
Kalozeni further claimed that it was when they were trying to process the player’s clearance with the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) that they established that Highlands Park had actually offered $35 000 (K25 million).
“The offer was made on January 27 which was three days before we got the R100 000 purported offer through Mabedi. It was only at about 7.30pm on January 31 [which was the deadline for the transfers in South Africa] that he [Mabedi] got in touch and claimed that there was someone who was trying to ‘fool’ him as he had learnt that the actual offer from Highlands Park was $35 000.
“But at that time, it had become clear that there was something wrong with the process and that is why we cancelled the deal. Approving the ITC [international transfer certificate for the sake of the player, would have been an option, but on what basis could we have done that? Worse still, no downpayment had been made.”
Reacting to the claims yesterday afternoon, Mabedi described Bullets officials as liars.
“They are lying, I have documents to prove that the first offer was R100 000 and they said it was small. But later on after I relayed the message to Highlands Park chairperson, he then offered $35 000 that was on January 31.
“I feel bad that after all my efforts to ensure that the player should secure a deal, Bullets failed me and the boy. His [Gabeya’s] air ticket expired on February 1 and yesterday I had to buy him another plane ticket to come back. I did what I could, but remember I am a coach and I was just [trying] to help.
“The truth [is that] some officials are very greedy and I must thank the chairman of the club. He did his best but some officials there are very greedy and think of themselves only not players or the team and they don’t know how to run football. They don’t have clue about football, I wonder how they get into football [administration],” said Mabedi.
He also said at no point was a R50 000 offer made to Bullets, saying: “It was R100 000 not R50 000.”
But Kalozeni countered: “Mabedi should explain at what point the $35 000 offer was made because according to the communication we have, the only offer to have come from Highlands Park was $35 000. He [Mabedi] cannot claim that the $35 000 was an improved offer because that was the only offer they made and it was on January 27. Why did he have to wait until January 31? And where did he get the R100 000 offer from?”
Asked to comment on the issue yesterday, Brookstone said: “I don’t think it is proper for me to comment, suffice to say what happened was very unfortunate. We made an offer in good time [of $35 000] but what transpired later on put us off.”
Jangale confirmed that the offer that Highlands made was $35 000.
Gabeya, who also attended trials at Kaizer chiefs, was expected back in the country yesterday.