United unveil new stars as season start looms

2009-07-29 00:00

With the new PSL season only days away, Maritzburg United have steadily gone about their recruitment of quality players.

Last night, at the occasion of their academy fund-raising dinner, United unveiled their off-season signings, which included two Senegalese internationals.

Mor Diouf, a central defender, and playmaking midfielder Vito Badiane hail from top Senegalese outfit AS Doaunes, and United CEO Afzal Khan revealed that the team of Choice is expecting much from their new arrivals.

“They are two players that we have been watching for a while and they have impressed us immensely since arriving,” Khan said last night.

Though not revealing full details, Khan revealed that the duo came at a price, with the Team of Choice required to pay up in U.S. dollars to secure the deals.

United kick off their 2009/10 campaign against champions SuperSport next Friday, and Khan intimated that preparations for this season had been smoother than last year’s unfortunate rush.

“We have had time to cull our squad — 14 players have left for various reasons, and we have signed several players who have experience in the PSL.”

While there will be plenty of intrigue surrounding the Senegalese starlets, United have also boosted their squad with shrewd local signings.

“We are very pleased that we have also brought in the likes of SuperSport striker Norman Smith and Namibian star Rudolf Bester.”

Smith is a player the club had been after for some time, while Bester comes highly rated after impressing in the Namibian league.

Goalkeeper Brendan Wardle has also arrived from Wits, while Felix Obada was poached from relegated Thanda Royal Zulu.

United’s raid on neighbours Thanda did not end with Obada, as they have also secured the services of former captain James Madidilane.

With a vastly re-configured schedule in effect for the PSL this season, United know that a fast start is crucial in order to steer well clear of the drop zone.

PSL chief Kjetil Siem, speaking at last night’s function, jokingly set United a target of 25 points before the Christmas break.

In all seriousness, however, the quicker United get out of the starting blocks, the better it will be for them.

Next Friday’s assignment against SuperSport presents Gordon Igesund’s side with an opportunity to make an early statement.

After a lengthy break, Maritzburg’s masses will finally get a chance to warm up their vuvuzelas and get behind their side.

A good start will not only settle players’ nerves, but it will also encourage fans to create a fortress at Woodburn Stadium for the rest of the campaign.

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