A View from Afar / Commentary

Mbolhi is finally gone

Photo: Daniel Studio

Finally, he’s gone.

It’s not known outside of Philadelphia Union headquarters whether a door actually hit Rais Mbolhi’s rear end on the way out or if he was given a plaque with the formal title of Worst Signing in Philadelphia Union History. If there was cheering, the cracking open of beers or champagne, or the brief playing of the Doop song afterwards, word hasn’t yet leaked out of Chester.

But surely, there is joy in U-ville. Mbolhi is off to Antalyaspor in Turkey, his contract mutually terminated with the Union. The cost of that termination remains unknown, but the Union likely ate some of the contract in what was certainly a meal worth eating.

Now, they have a relatively clean slate with their salary budget, something they have rarely had. Salary budget room has opened up. A major mess has finally gone away.

In that sense, it has been a fairly successful summer transfer window for the Union. Consider:

  • The contracts of Mbolhi and Carlos Valdes are off the books, at least by next season if not completely already. (We don’t know the details of their contract terminations, so there could still be salary budget ramifications.)
  • Tranquillo Barnetta is on the books.

It’s a low bar to set, admittedly: Clear out the two highly paid players who never play for you. Find one good player. Full stop.

But that’s the mess the Union found themselves in after the Mbolhi signing.

There are plenty of bad effects of that signing, ranging from missing the playoffs last year after Mbolhi’s fiasco in that game against Chicago to the Union’s current role as the perpetual butt of goalkeeper jokes around the league. (For a good selection of the latest ones, click here for fan reaction to his departure.)

But one of the biggest repercussions was how his contract helped handicap the Union’s roster and salary budget flexibility, forcing them to make or hold off on player personnel decisions they might otherwise not prefer.

For other teams, that may have been less of a problem.

But the Union had just gotten out of the hole that Peter Nowak had dug for them two years earlier when he detonated a Diego Gutierrez bomb on the roster and imported several Latin American players through their sketchy import/export business on the docks. John Hackworth spent two years clearing out those bad contracts. When the Union finally looked to be rid of nearly all them, Mbolhi and his contract landed like a cannonball in a swimming pool.

Now, Jim Curtin and Chris Albright have repeated the process. Nobody’s resume for general manager has been burnished significantly by these obviously necessary moves to clean up the budget, but they were nonetheless good and necessary transactions for which Curtin and Albright should be lauded.

Unfortunately, Mbolhi closed the deal with Antalyaspor too late for the Union to bring in a player contracted to another team, because the MLS secondary transfer window has already closed. However, they could bring in someone on free transfer until Sept. 16.

Most have blamed the Mbolhi signing on Union chief executive Nick Sakiewicz, and despite protestations to the contrary, that is probably where it belongs.

To Sakiewicz’s credit though, he quickly reversed course this spring when evidence confirmed the mistake, and he backed his on-field management team’s push to get rid of Mbolhi as soon as possible, even if it meant paying Mbolhi while banishing him from the team.

Clubs in Europe get big signings wrong all the time. It’s just that there are much fewer opportunities available for these big signings in MLS, so when goes wrong like the Mbolhi deal, it stands out even more. You only get a few of these. You have to get them right.

The Union have only an outside shot at the playoffs right now, but if they win the U.S. Open Cup next month and go into the offseason with a slate clear enough to make quality signings, there will once again be some reason for optimism going into 2016. They still need to hire a general manager, and job security questions will follow Jim Curtin if the Union don’t win the cup.

But Mbolhi’s departure is a good step.

84 Comments

  1. In my view, perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of the M’Bolhi fiasco is that it, effectively, cost us the services of Sheanon Williams. No matter how much I like Ray Gaddis — who must be one of the best SuperDraft signings in years — I miss Shea.

    • One way or the other, one of them had to get traded. They’re both starters. Yes, it probably happened when it did to help finance the Barnetta acquisition, but a trade of one or the other was a year overdue. The question is how much the trade brought back.

      A more significant consequence, if you want to name players, was Amobi Okugo’s departure. Or the delayed acquisitions of Vitoria and Aristeguieta. If not for Mbolhi, the money would have been there to sign Okugo, even at the $300k rate that Orlando paid him. (Not that the Union would’ve paid him that much, so perhaps it’s irrelevant.) Or they could’ve acquired the loanees earlier.

      • Did the Union dodge a bullet by not signing Amobi? Since he was traded from Orlando to KC, KC has played 6 games. Amobi’s played in 2 of them for a total of 78 minutes, and was yanked off at halftime of a 5-0 shellacking by SJ. The rest of the time he’s been an unused sub.

      • Careful. Your comments about Okugo are borderline blasphemy around here, and while I wouldn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition, a flogging and/or banishment from the commenting section may be forthcoming.

      • Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      • Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      • Aaack.. should have refreshed the page before posting 🙂

      • i don’t think so. we have seen what he is capable of for the past couple years. i think if he would have stuck around here where he is already familiar with the team he would have continued to develop into a really good dm

      • el pachyderm says:

        Okugo is in soccer purgatory now.
        .
        No discernible place- limbo.
        .
        It is a bit disappointing.
        .
        Okugo providing sprite one touch passes to Noguiera and Barnetta and Maidana with the occasional through ball to Sapong while closing down the opposing attacker…
        .
        The Union fucked it up with Amobi and I will never be swayed differently.
        .
        He was the solution at DM for at least another few years and had they made it known to him he was the so,union instead of signing Edu he’d still be bossing the midfield here.
        .
        It is no coincidence we yield the most goals in MLS in his absence. For some around here it must be coincidence but it’s not…they like shiney toys.
        .

      • el pachyderm says:

        Course Okugo having difficulty finding a game, or a fit, is the evidence some use as an indicator of his overall quality… these people likely think Chicarito isn’t a very good striker as well.
        .
        … Or that Falcao is a bad goal scorer.
        .
        Sometimes moving to a bigger and ‘better’ club puts you into purgatory cause you don’t fit…while staying put is ultimately the best solution for the arc of your career.
        .
        In Okugo’s case he was essentially forced out by the ‘Bentley’ that is or is not Maurice Edu and is now striking deals with the devil to get back under God’s Good Soccer Grace. We will see.
        .
        Period.
        .
        The End.

      • Some Philly fans still overrate Okugo. He plateaued a year or two ago and wasn’t worth big money. He clearly has talent to be an MLS starter, but his inability to win a starting job in Orlando is telling.

      • I am certain the vengeful gods of sports that torment Philadelphia will find a way to have Okugo score a go-ahead goal against Philly in the Open Cup Final. The stars have aligned.

      • Section 114 says:

        They can’t. He’s cup-tied to Orlando. Thank God, because otherwise you would have had it correct per TSU.

      • That is good news. Didn’t realize he was cup tied. Bad karma and juju averted.

      • Okugo looked terrible the last few games for SKC and lost a starting spot in Orlando. I’m going to chalk up the rough performances for SKC as “adjusting” to a new system. Still a solid, talented player. Not worth $300k though…

      • The argument itself is flawed to me with Okugo. Half say he is doing nothing now half say he would be better with the Union. Half say he is over priced half he is worth the money. I would argue it this way would one of the only players that has been here the longest that is a young player who had leadership skills, talent, and the fans backing worth giving a big contract to. I would argue yes. His talent could have covered Carroll and Lahoud this year he is clearly better then Vittoria who we pay more and I think he is younger and his skills were on par with Edu but he was cheaper. Argue what you will but there was a clear spot for him on this team if you ask me and he could have been the future midfielder on this team. Think of the lineup of Barnetta Nogs Chaco Ayuk and Okugo. Okugo is your destroyer you teach him to be Kyle Bekkerman like and it would work.

      • Jim Presti says:

        I’m not saying he’s a bad player etc. Just that he hasn’t proved yet that he can command a $300k+ salary and deliver value to his club.

      • Agree 100% with JB. If anything, it looks like he’s not worth the $300k that his agent likely commanded during negotiations with Union. Expansion side or not, he got beat out of his position in Orlando which resulted in his trade (whether that was his request or by default). I like what he brings to the table, but can’t see why he should earn more than 150k/year. Lastly, I believe he is cap-tied to Orlando in Open Cup Play this year, so he won’t even be eligible to suit up against Union in the Final.

      • Jim Presti says:

        and Orlando’s midfield is in crisis btw

      • I’d say they did dodge a bullet. I’m not afraid of the flogging. I didn’t see what the hype was all about when he was here. Still don’t see it now.

      • No. His availability at center back would have been a good thing. Okugo might be struggling now, but so did Benny Feilhaber when he first got to KC. Vermes knows how to ID talent.

        Maybe where Okugo belonged was always central defense. That’s what Hackworth thought. (Okugo obviously disagreed.) And it’s something I’ve always thought could be the case as well. (Was I sure? No. Needed time to see. Well, this is time to see.) Or maybe not. I didn’t see him much with Orlando, but his numbers clearly aren’t good. In soccer, the fit matters. Maybe he just didn’t fit. I don’t think he suddenly became a bad soccer player.

      • Jim Presti says:

        I don’t think anyone here is denying his talent. I think the better question is “For $300k+, can I get a better value from someone else in the same or similar position?” I tend to think that there are better dmids and CBs for under $300k.

      • Sorry Jim, but I am a denier. He’s serviceable at best. Definitely not an over-abundance of talent. From what I’ve seen, he could never do the job that Carroll has done this year. That’s all I want. That’s all I’d ask of him.

      • I think he would have no problem shielding the backline like Carroll has this season, but at this point its semantics.

      • I cannot deny there are two sides to the coin when it comes to Okugo. I know I’m on the side that lands face down most of the time. I just don’t see what’s on the upside of the coin. But I’m really glad we do have these debates. I get giddy at the idea that we can have them here in this forum. It’s fun and exciting that us fans, of our team, do this. I’m glad to agree we disagree. I’d also be happy to shake hands afterwards.

      • I’d like to also add if he does resurrect his career in KC, or anywhere else for that matter, and shows what you see and I don’t, I’ll eat my words and say I was wrong. I was wrong about BC. I could be wrong about Okugo too. I’m only human and prone to mistakes. I just don’t see it yet.

      • Haha wasn’t a personal attack or anything. But I hope for the sake of the league that he does well in KC. Better quality opposition etc

      • Yeah, I’d have paid him about $250k. Might’ve gone a bit higher if necessary.

      • Oh I didn’t take it as one Jim. Not at all. Just trying to show appreciation for this wonderful thing we’ve all found in PSP and this comments section. A few years ago I wouldn’t think a community with such an ability to analyze and debate our team was possible. I guess I show my ignorance in this. It is Philadelphia after all. But my only resource for Union news has been CSN (woefully lacking), until this year, when I found PSP (credit to that same CSN). I don’t have many friends that enjoy the world’s sport. Finding this community has filled a void that has been around, for me, since the beginning. Again, no offense was perceived or taken. Just glad to be here and enjoying the debates.

      • The Chopper says:

        Let us not restart the great Okugo debate. But let this be said, Rais Mbolhi had nothing to do with the Okugo departure. Okugo is gone, because Jim Curtin did not want him on the Philadelphia Union roster.

        Okugo did not deal well with starting the season at central defense which is where John Hackworth believed he best helped the team and his career. He did not play well there and the sense was he was going through the motions and the Union got off to a horrible start. His poor play at defense is why Edu was moved back there. Had they a better option at midfield, Okugo probably would have been sent to the bench. That is why Curtin benched him as soon as Valdes returned and he had an option to move Edu to midfield.

        As soon as he became a sub in Orlando, his coach wanted him gone. It just may be that despite his infectious smile, fun tweets and engagement of the fans, that Mr. Okugo is not the best guy to have on your team.

      • el pachyderm says:

        Boy I want to take your comment to task…alas I will leave it be.

  2. MikeRSoccer says:

    I won’t be optimistic because I’m a Union fan, but this could be the step that finally takes us to the next level.

    We have the cap space to extend Nogueira’s contract, permanently sign Nando – and maybe Vitoria as well, and there will be enough left over to sign one or two starting caliber players.

    Personally, the areas I’d like to see signings at are LB, RB, and CDM. Our fullbacks need competition/cover and BC isn’t getting any younger. I don’t believe that Lahoud and Creavalle are up to the task and a starting caliber CDM who also has distribution skills could significantly improve this team.

    • Anybody by Sakky says:

      OK, so we have money and now you want to overpay some not very good players? Do you work for the Phillies?

    • Yeah, let’s not get carried away. Fernando and Vitoria are decent players, but they are way overpriced, in relation to performance. If we can resign them at half of their salary (at most), then yes, it works out. But they are both likely to be off-season casualties.
      .
      BC’s competition comes form Lahoud, who is younger and can play the CDM spot for the next 4-5 years (if he stays healthy). BC will slide onto the bench in a nice suit and help Lahoud fine-tune his game.
      .
      We always need fullbacks. They just aren’t easy to come by. The league is full of midfielders that can be had for a reasonable price. But quality outside backs are a rare find. Blame it on the national development program that highlights the superstar positions, more than the blue-collar positions.
      Hopefully the success of players like Yedlin will change that view.

      • MikeRSoccer says:

        Regarding Vitoria, permanently signing him is contingent on how he plays the rest of the season. But Nando? Everyone seems to forget how he started the season. He has had a number of injuries and has just had his first 90 minute game since the start of the season.

        If we do not permanently sign Nando, we are idiots. He is 23, he’s a hard worker, he fights when he’s out there, and it’s clear to commentators across MLS that he has a high talent ceiling. The upside is massive with him. We haven’t even mentioned that he’s spent a significant amount of time in U.S. and will likely be greencard eligible sooner rather than later.

        In this context, I’d disagree with you that Nando is overpriced.

        I am also horrified that so many people are OK with Lahoud taking over at CDM. He is in the prime of his career (28) and he is a turnover machine. [Watch the MTL game highlights.] That’s the opposite of what a CDM should be doing. This team needs a younger, dedicated CDM, who had decent distribution skills (too bad we don’t have someone like, say OKUGO).

    • yeah, what ^ these guys said. i’m looking beyond the guys we have now

    • The Curse of Jordan Harvey still haunts PPL Park…..

  3. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    Don’t forget, that if the U were to win the cup they would be qualified for the Concacaf Champions league, at which point the league would wave the magic wand and bestow additional allocation money upon them. That was the rebound scenario for DC United. Worse record in the league, but won the US cup, got additional money and spent it on proven MLS players and then used the high draft pick on Birnbaum. They managed a very quick turnaround after that dreadful season. But, don’t forget, Nik Sak lives approximately 3.5 hours from DC and didn’t have the oppurtunity to screw it up for them by making Sakish moves.

  4. I’m just still flummoxed at how someone can be such a bad apple that the whole team wants him gone. I’d still like to know what happened — I mean, my only guess is that he threatened to (or claimed to) tank a game. Pretty much anything else could get worked out in a locker room, I would think.

    • Could be any number of things, some of them might not be entirely Rais fault. But even under ideal circumstances he shouldn’t have been brought in in the first place.
      .
      It could be argued that Mbohli being such a bust was a blessing to the front office because as high priced player busts happen all the time, while our keeper situation was… uniquely incompetent.

    • I think it was more throwing his teammates under the bus when things went wrong. Not in the press, because he refused to talk, but more in the locker room and on the pitch.

    • M’baddie has had nothing but bad runs in league clubs. The only time he has shown to have talent was in that little tournament. He’s a cancer. Sak should have seen that in his track record and should not have been enamored by 3 weeks in a career.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Yes, the on field talent was there, but never kept a starting role. sakeiwicz gambled and lost. The union have done well with cross-cultural integrations in other cases, but Mbohli’s was the most complex one they’ve undertaken. Perhaps that’s a factor in its failure. That he has gone to Turkey may give us hints.
        .
        The other factor I’ve always wondered about is how you tell who and what a person really is when you know he is trying to sell you something and he knows you are trying to sell him something.
        .
        Take him on a two week canoeing river trip. You’ll find out who he is. Or a week hiking the AT. Veneer’s are hard to maintain under those circumstances. Nowak’s trip to Crete made a lot of sense. I

      • I think if you want to go that in-depth into a person’s personality, you have to talk to his former coaches/team mates. And not from the National team. His club teams. See what they say. A grain of salt with the ones who love and hate him. Then make some kind of educated guess from what your gut is telling you.

  5. Section 114 says:

    Here’s the path to success:
    .
    Step 1 is hire a decision maker other than Sak. Then have that person decide whether Curtin and/or Albright are his/her guys.
    .
    Step 2 is decide which three of Nogs/Chaco/Barnetta/Edu you are going to build your midfield around and lock them in.
    .
    Step 3 is go out and buy a stud creative player to add to them and Sapong.
    .
    Step 4 is lock in the useful pieces you have on the roster who don’t cost a ton if any of them are out of contract (Gaddis, Lahoud, Marquez, Blake or McMath as GK#1, Sylvestre as GK#2, Ayuk, even Fabinho as LB#2).
    .
    Step 5 is to find a starting CDM or CB to pair with Marquez and Edu (if he’s around) in some combination.
    .
    Step 6 is decide what to do with LeToux (and I’m fine if he plays here for his last year or two as a mid-priced guy).
    .
    Step 7 is decide what we have with the various HGP pieces who have been around forever and either make them core pieces or set them free.
    .
    Step 8 is identify what we still need (at a minimum, striker #2, LB#1, CB/CDM depth, RB#2, GK#3) and go get it with the resources available. Might these guys already be in the system (e.g. McCarthy as GK#3) — maybe.
    .
    Step 9 — build on the recovery with the fans, along the lines of the Pink Cow Road Trip, but bigger and better. Give a further ST discount next year for folks who have been loyal, and even a further discount (but smaller) to those of us who couldn’t support the old regime. And while you are at it, step up with the City of Chester too.
    .
    Step 10 — get the performance up so that you can sell to ownership with real resources and Sak/Sugarman can make the profit they will require to exit stage left.
    .
    Step 11 — become a MLS power.
    .
    Now go execute it!

    • Good list. Unfortunately, Step 1 hasn’t changed from this time last year, so I’m not confident that the Union will be climbing to the top of your ladder anytime soon.

    • Step 1 : steal underpants
      Step 2 : —-
      Step 3 : profit

    • Just a heads up… MacMath is gone. If he does come back from the loan, he’s a backup at best in this league.

      • Section 114 says:

        I tend to agree (I suspect it is Blake) but if they decide that McMath >> Blake, then I could live with that.

      • Disagree with that, but I don’t see him returning either as why would he want to after what this team did to him.

      • Jim Presti says:

        MacMath screwed himself. We were loaded on “starting caliber” keepers at the end of last season. Not one team was looking to pick up his contract. He is painfully below average. Fan favorite, nice kid whatever. Doesn’t matter. Didn’t get the results and the league’s market agrees. He is probably out of contract or close to it soon. He will take a pay cut or drop to USL.

      • I tend to disagree he was improving last year before he got sent off and replaced with M’bohli and we keep speaking about youth and you tell me other than Hamid and Johnson. A 23yr old goalkeeper in MLS that has done as good a job in an ever changing backline like there has been here in philly. Not one season did MacMath have the same 4 people on the backline and he never had a true LB. Think of the backlines he had (2012 Porfiro Lopez, Valdes, Soumare, Williams) (2013 Gaddis Parke, Okugo, Williams) (2014 Gaddis (a CB rotation of Berry, Edu, Wheeler, White and Okugo) Williams). A 1.36 GAA average for his Career in a 103 games and 67.1 Save percentage. Is it stellar, NO is it better than this team has had except for Fayrd Mondragon yes.

      • JIm Presti says:

        The backline Gaddis, Parke, Okugo, Williams was solid for most of that season. Still suffered.

      • Section 114 says:

        Exactly. Imagine dating a 11 year old girl (and “we” are a 11 year old boy so it’s not creepy). She’s sorta cute and has potential, but then she starts growing and becomes awkward, then she gets braces, then breaks out all over, she begins to stabilize, then she starts developing and becomes awkward again and suffers a massive crisis of confidence. Now, at age 16, she’s finally beginning to blossom, and you start checking out the 19 year old supermodel named M’bolhi who is totally airbrushed. You have a rough spat. And at 18, the original girl is a beauty queen, poised, intelligent, and you have moved on. I’m afraid that’s what’s going to be the end story on McMath. But I’m happy for him if it is.

      • “you tell me other than Hamid and Johnson. A 23yr old goalkeeper in MLS that has done as good a job …”
        .
        Robles. Shuttleworth. Deric. The kid in Columbus whose name I forget. Attinella.

      • cszack4 I said 23 – Robles 31 Shuttleworth 28 Deric 26 Attinella 26
        Jim Presti that was his best season with 1.29 GAA and a 69.4 Save %

      • Dr. Union, right and those stats are at best painfully average. Nothing stellar. He will not make the 1-2 high-quality saves a match that keeps the Union in the game.

      • McMath equates to MacCarthty to me. He stays rooted too often as goals go by him. Great in a PK situation (like McCarthy). Just not enough in the run of play. Too often he’d look half asleep, or he spent too much time inhaling in the parking lot at a Phish concert. Not qualities I want in my goaltender.

      • Up all night partying///

      • OK we can agree to disagree. By no way am I saying he is stellar, but he is the most consistent goalkeeper this team has had and his quality was improving far away from McCarthy who I don’t trust at all. Blake has atheltic ability but haven’t seen enough for him to prove anything to me also older than MacMath by a year with 2 knee injuries in one year just don’t have much confidence there. Sylvestre is okay, but other than size he is slow to react and still learning. MacMath had more reactionary saves then most keepers we’ve had, but like I said before don’t see him coming back anyway so the point is moot.

    • As with all great teams in MLS and other leagues, the spine of team is critical.

      I am a DC fan but watch all MLS squads. On the field Philly needs an all star-caliber central defender and a top defensive mid.

      Give Blake a chance to nail down the starting job in goal but get a solid MLS vet. Too many young netminders.

      Build the offense around Chaco and/or Barnetta but add one good winger and, if the money’s there, a star DP forward.

      More depth in the form of solid MLS vets would also help, especially if they’ve mostly been on winning teams. At times Philly fields a roster that’s too young, mainly because of injuries.

      Not sure about Curtin as coach, but it’s not like good MLS coaches are readily available. Seems to command respect and perhaps with a better front office giving him better players he can do a better job.

    • Step 3 seems redundant. We have the mls assist leader on our roster already. Are we getting greedy here?

      • Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

        Gourcuff, available on a free

        pushes Maidana out on the flanks where he likes to drift anyway

      • Maidana doesn’t have the legs to defend out on the flank though. I just don’t see him playing on the wing full time.

  6. The union are a new (er) franchise still and regardless of who is in charge still more of a teenager than an adult. So the mbolhi mess was like when you first wrecked your car at 17. You get over it, only your pride was injured, and figure out how to use your brakes next time. Hopefully they’ll get wiser and this is a great lesson.
    Disclaimer: I’m only this optimistic because the Montreal game was great, if they had lost if be in full Philly mode!

    • I’d accept this analogy if the Nowak debacles, and Hack’s less than stellar record didn’t happen before this supposed teen-aged misstep. Sorry, but nope.

  7. I’d love to hear an answer from the FO to this question: What did you learn from the MBholi fiasco?
    .
    Do we need to spend more time meeting players before we acquire them? Interview past clubs? Prove to me that we’ll learn something positive from this and I can feel better moving forward.

    • Unfortunately I think you got your answer when Sak did that interview last month and hilariously tried to claim that the Mbohli signing was a “great business decision” and he fully backs Curtin and Albright for making it. Not the answer we want, but tells us all we need to know on several levels.

    • My lesson is to let someone else introduce the players I pick so my fingerprints aren’t so clearly on the disasters. I don’t make mistakes — I’m THE SAK.

    • The sample size is small, but look at Barnetta.
      .
      He was signed after spending a week training with the team. The staff had a chance to not only evaluate his skills, but to see how he interacts with the team.
      .
      I can’t remember the names of the other trialists, but they did bring them in to kick the tires before they declined to sign them.
      .
      Looking for the silver lining…

  8. Dan, I just want to know when Sak reversed his claim that he had nothing to do with M’baddie. Last time I read a quote from him about it, he was still throwing Curtain and Albright under the bus.

    • Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that. He obviously hasn’t reversed that claim.

      I mean that … this team VERY quickly did an about face on his signing and moved to get rid of him. I mean, by May, Mbolhi had been banished from the team, and Sakiewicz went on record saying Mbolhi would be transferred. That’s a pretty quick turnaround on a guy who realistically speaking only had 4-5 months of actual game time with the team at most. (Keep in mind the off-season.) There’s no sign that Sakiewicz stood in Curtin’s way when Curtin tried to get rid of Mbolhi.

      No, he didn’t fall on his sword or anything, but Sakiewicz went right along with the move to get rid of Mbolhi like a good soldier. For the most part, it only made Sakiewicz look worse because there was no salvaging the deal, but in the end, it’s better for the team. So … maybe there’s some credit to give him for that.

      • Oh, ok. Thanks Dan. My misunderstanding. And I totally agree with your second and third paragraphs.

    • … and the efforts to sign MBolhi were long running, like from before Curtin and Albright were in charge. It was a Sak Show all the way.

      Unfortunately, his plentiful international contacts failed to let him know what was evident from MBolhi’s published CV on the internet … he will not last for long at any club, and will not really add much.

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