‘Signing of the year’ for United

2011-07-20 00:00

MARITZBURG United revealed what club chairperson Farouk Kadodia considers to be “the signing of the year” yesterday when they announced the acquisition of former Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder Prince Olomu.

Olomu (24) met up with his team-mates, chairperson and coach Ian Palmer at the Harry Gwala stadium yesterday where United were playing two training matches against their provincial rivals, AmaZulu.

After becoming a free agent in December, when Celtic decided against renewing his contract, Olomu began to attract interest from clubs in Israel, northern Africa and in South Africa.

“I have been speaking to the player for about two months already,” confirmed Kadodia.

“We knew that Chiefs were interested and when I heard that he was not signing for them I decided to take a long shot.”

Kadodia said the club’s budget had to be stretched to secure Olomu, but he feels it was worthwhile.

“He comes with a big following and he will certainly add value to the team brand,” said the chairperson.

Olomu is from Nigeria, which means that United still has space for two foreign players in its squad.

“We are still looking to strengthen a couple of areas and we are head-hunting players at the moment.”

None of the triallists who have visited United in the past two weeks have impressed Palmer, meaning that any further signings for the Team of Choice will come the expensive way — through spending in the transfer market.

While known to many as a striker, Olomu said he prefers playing in an attacking midfield role.

“That is where I feel most comfortable,” said United’s new number 12.

“But I consider myself to be a utility player and will play wherever the coach wants me to.”

Olomu said everybody at the club has been extremely accommodating and that he is delighted to have signed for Pietermaritzburg’s PSL side. “The coach has already been like a father to me and the players are all very welcoming, This is a very relaxed city and I am very excited about being here.”

Olomu said United should aim to improve on last season’s 12th position in the league.

“This is a team that does not deserve to be in the positions that they have been in over the last two seasons, I have helped my other PSL sides [Celtic and Free State Stars] to improve on their log position during my time with them and I am sure that I can do the same here.”

United have now signed three major players during the current pre-season — striker Diyo Sibisi (Ajax Cape Town), defender and midfielder Michael Morton (Orlando Pirates) and now Olomu, and Kadodia said he is breathing a little easier when thinking about the start of next season.

“These signings have made our squad a lot more complete,”said Kadodia. “The core of the side is now there.

“We will be bringing in a couple more players before the season starts but I now have a bit more confidence in the team and how they are going to perform.”

Palmer’s men kick off their PSL campaign at home to Bidvest Wits on August 14.

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