Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Sven's loss could be Tsepo and Macca's gain

You could forgive Tsepo Masilela for being more than slightly annoyed right now. The Bafana Bafana left back was in Sweden a couple of weeks ago as he looked to put the finishing touches to his season-long loan to Leicester City, when along comes Liverpool misfit Paul Konchesky.

Despite having worked on a deal with Masilela and his club Maccabi Haifa nearly two months, Leicester boss Sven Goran Eriksson decided to pull the plug at the last minute and sign the one-time England international  instead. Sound unfair? Just a little bit - but then Sven has never really been known for his loyal streak.

While manager of England, the Swede was famously courted by Roman Abramovich to take over at Chelsea and was even fooled into accepting an apparently lucrative deal to join Aston Villa presented by the infamous 'Fake Sheikh' in a sting for the now defunct News of the World. And then there were all the women.

So it should really have come as no surprise to Masilela and his representatives that the slippery Sven ducked out of a deal at the last minute. After all, with the likes of Lazio and Notts County behind him, Eriksson is busy building yet another over-priced squad that will be under enormous pressure to achieve promotion at the first time of asking and has no time to think about niceties such as keeping your word.

All of which leaves Masilela in a very difficult situation. Having seen the move to Leicester fall through, he has been training with PSL club Moroka Swallows in a bid to retain his fitness.

Meanwhile, his club Maccabi Haifa will face a crucial third round qualifying match against Slovenian champions Maribor on Wednesday as they bid to win a place in the Champions League group stages. But with the Israeli champions having already agreed to allow the full back to depart and having finalised their squad, Masilela finds himself out in the wilderness with only weeks left to resolve his future.

Salvation could come in the form of another ex-England manager. New Nottingham Forest boss Steve McClaren served as Eriksson's assistant before infamously bungling his attempt to fill the top post as his team failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

Winning the Dutch title with FC Twente went some way to rebuilding his shattered reputation (Dutch impressions aside http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWptErAWrmQ&feature=related), even if the spell with in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg didn't end so well. Nonetheless, Forest have decided to give chance to return to his home country and it seems there is a good chance Masilela could join him after speaking to his agent Mike Makaab this week. http://www.kickoff.com/news/23184/tsepo-masilela-linked-to-english-championship-side-nottingham-forest.php

And with Forest having finished a full eight points clear of Leicester in the Championship last season, who is to say McClaren will not have the last laugh over his former boss?

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