Team of Choice likely to keep Awal as they strengthen strike force

2013-01-04 00:00

MARITZBURG United have confirmed that they have not received any formal offers from Soweto giants Orlando Pirates for the services of Ghanaian centre back Mohamed Awal.

With the January transfer window now in full swing, there have been suggestions on websites and social media networks that Pirates have been sniffing around Harry Gwala in the hope of luring the 24-year-old to Johannesburg, but United commercial manager Younus Kadodia told The Witness yesterday that it was still a matter of speculation at this stage.

“Obviously the rules say that we are not allowed to replace a foreign player if we let him go during the season, so I think it would be very unlikely for us to let him leave,” said Kadodia, adding that there had been no official approach from Pirates regarding the player.

Awal joined United from Ghanaian club Asante Kotoko at the start of the season and has been in exceptional form for the Team of Choice.

His towering aerial prowess, composure, intelligence and ability to move the ball forward have contributed to United’s fifth place on the table after 16 rounds of fixtures.

It is difficult to see coach Ernst Middendorp being prepared to part with one of his major assets.

Kadodia confirmed that United had made contact with “one or two” players, whom he was not prepared to name, at the end of 2012 and that negotiations with them would begin again in the coming days.

Chairperson Farouk Kadodia had previously confirmed that the players he was looking at bringing to the club were all current PSL players and that strengthening his strike force, where Zimbabwean Cuthbert Malajila has been prominent this season, would be a priority.

Most of the squad is expected back at training on Monday for what is, in essence, a second pre-season.

With Afcon 2013 being hosted in South Africa and due to start on January 19, PSL action will resume on February 12 when United travel to their relegation-threatened KwaZulu-Natal neighbours, AmaZulu.

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