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Thu Apr 17 17:28:18 SAST 2014

PSL needs to sign a 'Beckham'

NICK SAID | 22 November, 2012 07:080 Comments
David Beckham has announced he will quit the American Major League Soccer team LA Galaxy next month
Image by: JEFF VINNICK / GALLO IMAGES

KAIZER Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung has denied English media reports that the club has expressed an interest in signing David Beckham.

But he said the PSL should look at players of the Englishman's calibre to boost its global image.

Beckham announced this week that he was leaving Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy and would seek one final "adventure" in his career before hanging up his boots.

It set the media into a frenzy over where the 37-year-old would go next, with clubs in Europe, Brazil, China and Australia all mentioned. English tabloid The Sun went so far as to suggest that Chiefs were in the frame and would offer Beckham R2.5-million a month to come to Naturena.

This has been laughed off by Motaung, but he did suggest that bringing Beckham - or other players of his global standing - to the PSL is the way forward.

"Bring him here, [we] would love to have him." Motaung told The Times with a chuckle.

"No, we know nothing about David Beckham coming to Kaizer Chiefs. We have had no contact with any of his representatives and we have not spoken about this at all within the club.

"But it would certainly be good for the [Kaizer Chiefs] brand and good for the PSL to have a player like him come to South Africa. It would raise the stature of the league overseas and raise the profile of the game in this country."

A number of leagues around the world that would be comparable with the PSL in terms of quality, if ahead on financial muscle, have devised a strategy to bring in the "marquee" players to boost their global profile.

The MLS in the US took the decision to do so in 1996 and over the years have seen the likes of Beckham, Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill arrive on big contracts to boost interest. Doctor Khumalo was one such player for Columbus Crew in the 1990s.

China has been on a similar drive over the last few years, signing the likes of Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.

The Australia A-League has a salary cap imposed on it for clubs, who are allowed one "marquee player" to boost its image. Sydney FC recently signed Italian legend Alessandro del Piero, while former England international Emile Heskey joined the Newcastle Jets.

"If we talk about building a brand and a global audience then these types of players give you that opportunity," Motaung said.

"It is something that works and we'd always be open to making such an arrangement with a player if the opportunity arose. If someone like David Beckham showed a real desire to come to South Africa and he wanted to talk with us, we'd obviously engage with him. We would try to work something out."

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