United sign Congolese goalkeeper at the last minute

2011-08-17 00:00

MARITZBURG United have confirmed an emergency change in the goalkeeping department ahead of tonight’s PSL encounter with Ajax Cape Town by signing Congolese shot-stopping veteran Francis Chansa.

Chairperson Farouk Kadodia said the one-year deal for the 36-year-old former Orlando Pirates ‘keeper was finalised yesterday, just in time for Chansa to become part of the squad that left for Cape Town yesterday evening.

United’s first choice ‘keeper, Shu-Aib Walters, missed Sunday’s season opener at home to Bidvest Wits while serving a one-match suspension after reaching his yellow card limit at the end of last year’s campaign.

Then on Saturday night Walters was diagnosed with a chest infection. He has been in and out of hospital since and will miss tonight’s match at Cape Town Stadium.

This leaves Chansa as favorite to start tonight’s clash after Tashrique Goldman failed to impress on Sunday. Goldman never l ooked comfortable and failed to command his defenders, conceding two goals when it appeared that he might have come off his line to gather the ball from aerial crosses.

United coach Ian Palmer would not confirm who would be starting in goal this evening, but gave a stern warning to Goldman that this could be his last chance to prove his worth.

“I don’t know what happened with Tashrique [Goldman] on Sunday,” Palmer said. “If he starts tomorrow it could be his final opportunity ; we can’t jeopardise what we as a team are trying to achieve.”

Kadodia said that bringing Chansa into the squad would give Walters some competition for a starting place in the side.

“When I spoke to him [Chansa] he told me that he felt he could compete with Shu-Aib,” Kadodia said. “He is a professional, he has years of experience and he is a great addition to the squad.”

Ajax will not have fond memories of hosting Palmer’s United. The Team of Choice drew at Cape Town Stadium on the final day of last season, taking the league title away from Ajax and handing it to Pirates. United were three minutes away from a 2-1 win that day after goals from Gert Schalkwyk and Diyo Sibisi, but Ajax equalised and United were made to settle for a point.

Palmer said the mood in the camp is fantastic ahead of tonight’s match and that he believes United can go one better this time.

“I am confident and the players are confident,” he said. “They know that they played at about 55-60% against Wits and they believe they can win.”

The match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will not be televised.

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