Preparation: Maritzburg United to play three friendlies

2011-07-12 00:00

MARITZBURG United’s PSL preparations are in full swing and the cash-strapped club will play three friendly matches this week for coach Ian Palmer to have a closer look at how his squad members are performing with a month to go until the start of the new season.

Speaking to The Witness from the team’s Ohrtmann Road training venue yesterday, club chairperson Farouk Kadodia said that the side would be playing two matches against Lamontville Golden Arrows in Chatsworth tomorrow, as well as a match against First Division side African Warriors on Saturday.

Saturday’s match will be played in Pietermaritzburg at the team’s training ground and will not be open to members of the public.

“The matches will give the coach a chance to look at his players and after them we will have a better understanding of who we will be keeping on for the new season,” said Kadodia.

Last weekend the club invited seven players from Ghana and Nigeria to a trial, and this week’s fixtures will feature some of these trialists.

“There is a centre back from Ghana who is looking promising, but we will not be able to confirm anything until we have seen him in these friendlies,” added Kadodia.

Kadodia confirmed that the player swap deal that will see Rudolf Bester leave the Team of Choice for Orlando Pirates is nearing completion.

It seems increasingly likely that the player who will be making his way to Maritzburg to replace Bester is Bucs defender Michael Morton, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Bidvest Wits.

Morton (22) will arrive in Pietermaritzburg today to meet Kadodia and Palmer.

Kadodia added that he is still pushing for Bucs striker Siphelele Mthembu (23) to form part of the swap.

With a financial settlement certain to come United’s way, how much money Pirates offer Maritzburg for Bester will be determined by whether or not Mthembu is included in the package.

“Michael [Morton] is a quality young player and he will serve the club well moving forward. We fully believe that he will be a good addition to the side.” said Kadodia.

“First prize would be to have Michael and Mthembu join us, but we will have to wait and see what happens,” added Kadodia.

Kadodia said that the club are looking at a couple of players who are currently part of the South African U23 side.

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