Malajila to leave United

2013-05-22 00:00

WHEN Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila netted his injury time winner against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, few realised that it was to be his final contribution for Maritzburg United.

The club have now confirmed that their top goal-scorer this season is on the verge of joining Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns, with a deal likely to be finalised in the coming days.

The 27-year-old joined United midway through the 2011/12 season and was one of coach Ernst Middendorp’s first signings in his second stint at the club. Middendorp had also tried to sign Malajila in 2010 during his first stint as United boss, but that deal fell through and Malajila signed instead for Tunisia’s Club Africain.

But Malajila has caught the eye of the league’s big boys this season with 11 goals in the course of the PSL season. Only Bernard Parker [Kaizer Chiefs] and Katlego Mashego [Moroka Swallows] scored more league goals than Malajila this season, 12 and 13 respectively.

That Malajila was for the most part employed as a lone striker in a generally defensive United side makes his achievements in front of goal even more impressive.

With the ability to make intelligent runs, pace at his disposal and an instinctive presence in the opposition area, Malajila has been a thorn in the side of the PSL’s most established defences all season long.

“There are still one or two minor details that need to be ironed out between the two clubs, but discussions are taking place,” United’s commercial manager, Younus Kadodia, told The Witness yesterday. “I wouldn’t say the deal is as far along as people think. I don’t know that everything that has been said online is true.”

There were reports yesterday that suggested that Malajila had signed a pre-contract with Sundowns for a five-year deal, but this could not be confirmed.

“Once a final agreement has been reached between both clubs, we will keep everybody informed and be able to release an official statement,” added Kadodia.

Should Malajila leave, and it looks almost certain that he will, he will join a long list of United players that have excelled at the club only to leave the Midlands. Mor Diouf, Felix Obada, Kurt Lentjies, Rudolf Bester and John Arwuah have all left United while being considered among the club’s finest players at the time.

Mosimane has made no secret of his desire to purchase an out-and-out striker, saying earlier this month that his attacking arsenal was the area that needed bulking up most.

But as Middendorp told The Witness, it is inevitable that players will want to leave for a bigger club. What is important is that the money gained in the player’s departure is used to find an adequate replacement.

The movements of Ghanaian centre back Mohamed Awal will also be monitored closely in the coming days, with clubs such as Orlando Pirates reportedly interested in his services.

Malajila was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Sundowns finished the PSL season in 10th place, United in 11th. They are separated by goal difference.

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