Maritzburg United beef up strike force with signing of SuperSport’s Smith

2009-07-16 00:00

MARITZBURG United have beefed up their strike force with the signing of Norman Smith from SuperSport United.

Smith’s turn of pace, physical strength and nippiness up-front will complement United’s established strike force of Fadlu Davids, Brice Aka and Collen Zimba.

Smith joins right-back James Madidilane, from Thanda Royal Zulu, and utility defender Byrone Hendricks, from Wits University, as United’s new signings for 2009/10 as coach Gordon Igesund and new CEO Afzal Khan continue to build the team’s squad for the coming Premier Soccer League season.

United kick off the PSL season with its first game when they take on champions SuperSport United at Woodburn Stadium on Friday, August 7, at 8 pm.

“Smith is a quality striker who once broke into the shadow Bafana Bafana squad, and still has a lot of potential,” Khan said yesterday. “It took a lot of negotiating to get him because he’s a big-name player.”

Smith’s most successful period in his career came at the club where he made his name, Lamontville Golden Arrows in Umlazi, where he played from 2005 to 2008. In 2007 his sharp form in front of goal attracted the eye of then-Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and Smith earned two caps for the national team.

The striker had less success in his last two seasons at Thanda Royal Zulu then at SuperSport, where he was predominantly a fringe player, and at the end of last season Smith was released by the league champions along with Mulondo Sikhwivilu.

It is felt, though, that the 27-year-old is yet to realise his potential and could still become a regular goal-scorer.

Igesund said: “Norman is a prolific goal-scorer, is excellent with his back to goal and is strong with both feet. These are all qualities that I feel will complement the team’s other strikers.”

Khan said Smith’s signing completes United’s complement of four strikers, though the team are also busy tying up a deal for forward Tumelo Mahlangu from the Vodacom League in Johannesburg as a fifth young prospect.

United will also be looking to strengthen the area where they were hardest hit in the departure of several lone players at the end of last season, at wing. With Sipho Mngomezulu having moved to Wits University and Fanyana Dhladhla and Tony Tsabedze having returned to Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport respectively, United have been left lacking quality out wide.

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