Pirates dismiss Pelembe talk

But the move could be a deliberate ploy by Bucs meant to ensure they do not scupper efforts to rope the player into their ranks.

Pelembe, who now has the option of signing a pre-contract with any club of his choice, has been linked with a move to Pirates, who are one of the few clubs in South Africa financially capable of meeting the R500 000-per-month salary he is reportedly seeking.

The release of two Pirates players, defender Vusi Mthimkulu and midfielder Sibusisio Mnguni on loan to First Division outfit Chippa United, was largely seen as a move by the defending League champions to create room for Pelembe ahead of the club's participation in the African Champions League.

However, Bucs spokesperson Mickey Modidane tells KickOff.com that there have not approached Sundowns in a bid for Pelembe's signature.

Modisane also dismisses the possibility that informal talks involving Pelembe and Pirates could be taking place at a higher level without his knowledge.

“No. We have not talked to Pelembe. These are just rumours," he says. “Officially and unofficially, Pirates have not approached the player with the hope of securing him.

“This therefore also means that we have not held transfer talks with his club Sundowns. There are a lot of reports on this issue but this is our position.”

Modisane says Pirates coach Julio Leal and his technical team would soon meet with management in order to intensify efforts to secure friendly matches during the current League break.

“It is our hope that we engage in friendly matches against other clubs so that the players remain fit in preparation for the resumption of the League matches,” says Modisane.

Apart from the absence of Isaac Chansa, Chiukepo Msowoya and Boubacar Talatou – who are currently with their respective national teams for the African Cup of Nations – all players this week turned up at Rand Stadium where they are being taken through some training session.

Leal’s charges will resume their title defence with a home match against Black Leopards on February 15.