FOLLOWING lengthy negotiations, the 2019/20 Econet Premier League champions, Bantu, have parted ways with star midfielder Hlompho “Stiga” Kalake.
Reports say the Likuena midfielder failed to agree on terms with the Mafeteng outfit because of his “ridiculous” demands.
The Sunday Express has been reliably informed that Kalake was demanding a staggering M50 000 signing on fee, a M12 000 monthly salary and that the club builds him three rental houses.
Instead, the club was offering him a M8 000 salary, a rise from his M7 000 salary for the previous season.
Bantu boss Leuta John Leuta confirmed the player’s departure from the club after failing to meet his demands.
“Following series of meetings with the player, we agreed to part ways because we could not afford his demands,” Leuta said.
He also confirmed the player’s demands for a M50 000 signing on fee, M12 000 salary and rental houses.
Leuta labelled the demands “absurd”.
“It’s true that he made those demands but we could not agree with him. We have partners who have been advising our players on the importance of saving and investing their money. He was one of the highest paid players in our team who also plays for the senior national team.
“That means he has been making lot of money (compared to others) and if he wanted to build rental houses, he could have long done that… But players don’t listen when they are advised to invest and now, he wants the team to do that for him, no we couldn’t afford that,” Leuta said.
Kalake has been a key player in Bantu’s success in the past nine seasons helping the side win four league titles, one Top8 and four Top4 trophies. He was also part of the side that broke the LDF record to advance beyond the first round of the CAF Champions’ League. LDF’s record was set over two decades ago.
Kalake also won the Top Goal Scorer, Players’ Player of the Season and Player of the Season accolades in 2016/17 season.
Leuta conceded that losing Kalake was one of the toughest decisions he has ever made because of the player’s quality but said in the end, he had to decide between saving one player and risking the life of the whole team.
“It was a tough decision but we had to be careful to avoid destabilising the team. He is one of the best players locally but we knew that at some point, he would leave us and I think Bantu can still live without him.
“Our technical team is already out looking for a player who will replace him and I think we still have the quality to compete next season without him.
“We didn’t want to lose him but we just could not manage. We tried negotiating with him but failed to reach an agreement… We are hurt but we wish him luck wherever he is going.”
Asked whether they would take back the player if he changes his mind, Leuta said it would still be a difficult decision.
“His issue has already divided our supporters and if he returns now, what message will we be sending to other players? It is going to be a challenging situation… but if he does, we will sit down and talk,” Leuta said.