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Sun Apr 20 15:39:59 SAST 2014

Greeks keen on Bafana’s Bongani

NICK SAID | 26 June, 2012 09:270 Comments
Bongani Khumalo of Tottenham during the 2011 Vodacom Challenge match between Kaizer Chiefs and Tottenham Hotspur at Peter Mokaba Stadium on July 16, 2011 in Polokwane
Image by: Lefty Shivmabu / Gallo Images/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur remain locked in talks with Greek side PAOK to take Bafana Bafana centre-back Bongani Khumalo on loan for the new season.

The Greeks are looking to bolster their squad after finishing fourth last season – enough to qualify the club for the Europa League in the coming campaign.

That presents an attractive proposition for Khumalo, who managed just five competition matches in 2011-12, and all of those coming last season while on loan at second-tier English Championship side Reading.

“Bongani realises he needs to play on a regular basis, nobody understands that more than him,” Khumalo’s agent Glyn Binkin told Avusa Sports. “PAOK have expressed an interest and they are now in discussions with Tottenham. It is certainly a good option for Bongani because they are willing to guarantee him first-team football and by playing in Europe there is the added opportunity to gain some good experience.

“Any move would just be a loan though, Bongani is still committed to make a career at Tottenham but understands that he needs to get a good season under his belt elsewhere.”

Khumalo’s lack of game time was obvious when he turned out for Bafana Bafana in their World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and Botswana in June.

His place in the national side is seriously under threat with the emergence of Kaizer Chiefs’ Morgan Gould and Orlando Pirates’ Siyabonga Sangweni as a the preferred partnership. Those two would have likely played earlier this month as a pairing has the latter not been injured.

PAOK have won two Greek championships in the past – 1975-76 and 1984-85 – but did finish runners-up as recently as 2009-10.

They are currently coached by German-born former Greek international Giorgos Donis.

Olympiacos have been the dominant force in Greece over the last 16 seasons, winning the championship in 14 of those, including last year.

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