McCarthy completes the jigsaw

2010-09-16 00:00

FORMER Kaizer Chiefs stalwart Fabian McCarthy was the signing to complete Maritzburg United’s squad for the 2010/11 season when he put pen to paper for the Team of Choice yesterday.

Vastly experienced McCarthy (33), a key player for Chiefs as a stalwart in defence from 2003 to 2008, including their league title-winning seasons in 2004 and 2005, has been signed on a one-year contract with an option to renew for a year.

McCarthy started his professional career at Bloemfontein Celtic from 1997 to 2000 before spending three seasons with Mamelodi Sundowns.

At Maritzburg, McCarthy will renew his relationship with coach Ernst Middendorp, whom he played under when the German led Chiefs between 2005 and 2007.

“He’s a very experienced centre-back who has been a consistent performer for about 12 years, and he played under Ernst at Chiefs, so when he called me I thought he was worth an assessment,” United CEO Afzal Khan said yesterday.

“We had been scouting for about three months for an experienced central defender to add to our young team. McCarthy adds to our depth in defence and his signing now concludes our squad until the next transfer window [in January].

“We have a lot of quiet players in our defence, but Fabian is a speaker and a leader.”

McCarthy, who had little game time with previous club Moroka Swallows last season due to various disagreements with the team’s management, passed fitness and medical tests before being signed by Maritzburg.

“He passed with flying colours — he’s in very good condition,” Khan said.

McCarthy will add cover in central defence and much-needed experience to a young United team.

His arrival also adds to the overall competitiveness of the squad as it frees up 2008/09 player of the season John Arwuah, who has begun this season in central defence, to also challenge Chilis Madondo in defensive midfield.

“We have a lot more cover in our defence and the entire team now than last season,” Khan said.

“And we will pick up injuries and suspensions, so it’s important to have this depth.”

While McCarthy’s arrival completes a promising United squad for 2010/11, it has emerged that talented playmaker Musa Nyatama will leave the club to join Sundowns at the end of the season.

A part of the deal to sign left midfielder Kurt Lentjies from Sundowns on a three-year contract, which United were keeping under wraps, is that in return Nyatama will join the Pretoria giants at the end of the season.

Nyatama (23) has had some skilful performances for the Team of Choice, not least of which was in last Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Chiefs at Harry Gwala Stadium, where he had tongues in the stands wagging with his ability to beat players in central midfield.

“Sundowns wanted to have Musa at the start of this season, but we didn’t want to part with him yet,” Khan confirmed yesterday.

“We were chasing the signing of a quality player like Kurt Lentjies with about five other clubs also after him, and in the end it took a concession on our part to be successful with a three-year deal for a talented young player,” he said.

Khan said United have registered McCarthy to be available for tomorrow night’s match against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala, and will be looking to pick up their first win of the season.

“Our draw against Chiefs was the morale boost. Last year, at the re-opening of Harry Gwala, we beat Arrows for the first time ever in six years, and we will be looking for a repeat of that on Friday night.”

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