Igesund finalising United squad with new signings

2009-07-07 00:00

DEFENDER Byron Hendricks from Wits University is the first of Maritzburg United’s new signings, and coach Gordon Igesund says he is hoping to make a few more soon to have his squad finalised for the Premier Soccer League season in the next 10 days.

United begin their new season on Friday, August 7, against defending champions SuperSport United at Woodburn Stadium and will need a few good signings to replace the dozen players either released or lost from last season, including wingers Sipho Mngomezulu, Fanyana Dhladhla and Tony Tsabedze, and defender Gary Goldstone.

Igesund has been running the rule over foreigners from Ivory Coast, Senegal and Nigeria, triallists, and invited players from lower league teams around the country.

Big central defender Hendricks, who could not renew terms with Wits at the end of his contract, is the first new signing.

“He’s a centre-back, but he can also play right-back or in the holding role — he’s quick and he’s strong,” Igesund said.

“Last season I wasn’t very happy with our defenders in certain departments. Our main objective is to strengthen up in that area first, then think about the rest.

“I’ve still got to sign a few players — there’s a few foreigners I’m looking at who all look very useful. Obviously, though, I can only take two or three of them depending on the goalkeeping department.

“We’re building slowly, but I would say in the next 10 days I’ll have my final squad.”

United have also had former Lamontville Golden Arrows goalkeeper Brenden Wardle on trial in a department that was crucially lacking last season.

“Brenden seemed to have lost interest at Arrows for whatever reason, and I’m going to have a look at him,” Igesund said.

“I’ve got my eye on a few other situations too, but I need to get finished in the next 10 days so I can continue with my pre-season.”

Igesund stressed that with only one signing made with a month to go to the PSL kickoff, United have not made a late start and he is near to finalising the process.

“My signings will probably come from the players I’ve got here now. I’ve already had a look at a lot of players — in the past two weeks when my team was training I was having sessions in the afternoon just for triallists.

“I’ve picked out the best from the trials and the other seven or eight guys have been specifically invited. We’ve done all the work, now it’s a matter of making the decisions.”

Every team’s objective is always to try to have a better season than the one before, and Igesund said he is confident United will improve on their 12th placing they had in their first year back in the PSL.

“There’s absolutely no doubt,” he said. “Last season was a really tough season — I don’t think many people realise how much so. I never had the right camaraderie between players due to the fact that I brought in many new faces, and then you had the guys who had helped get the team promoted, and there was a bit of a rivalry there.

“And I didn’t have the time to gel them as a team. This year the spirit will be much better, and we’ll be much better.”

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