Team of Choice unveil new six

2013-07-25 00:00

“THE Yak” has been brought in by Maritzburg United to fire them into the top eight.

Yakubu Mohammad, who shares a name — and nickname — with Nigerian superstar Yakubu Ayegbeni, was one of the six new players unveiled by the Team of Choice ahead of the new PSL season.

The Accra-born Ghanaian (23), who signed from Ashanti Gold in his native country, did not seem to be daunted by the task of filling the boots left by Cuthbert Malajila.

Malajila scored 12 goals last season before making the move up north to join big spenders Mamelodi Sundowns.

“I’m not feeling any pressure,” Mohammad said when asked about being tasked to be the team’s go-to man for goals.

Having finished second on the goalscoring charts in the Ghanaian Premier League for the last two seasons, he did not want to speculate on how many goals he would score in his first year in the PSL.

“Let’s just see at the end of the season,” the diminutive striker said.

Asked which player he modelled his game on, the striker gave an answer that would please coach Ernst Middendorp — and frighten opposition defenders around the league.

“The older Ronaldo da Lima from Brazil. He’s a player I look up to and model my game around,” he told The Witness.

He didn’t end there, adding confidently: “Because of my name, my friends used to call me Yakubu after Yakubu Ayegbeni. But, with my movement, I think I can offer more than him.”

Mohammad becomes the third Ghanaian on the books of a United that already has Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi and Ghana international Mohamed Awal.

“He used to play for Asante Kotoko and I used to play for Ashanti Gold. Both clubs are in the same city so we knew each other from then,” said Mohammad, adding that having the defender around would help him settle at United.

Pietermaritzburg was the city of choice for Mohammad, who was on the verge of signing for Orlando Pirates a couple of weeks ago.

“I joined Maritzburg because I know I can grow. I’m going to work hard and enjoy myself.”

On the potential move to the Buccaneers that fell through, he said the deal was made between the two clubs but he was not in the know.

Pirates coach Roger de Sa was quoted as saying the deal fell through because the player only lasted 30 minutes in his first training session.

“He had one session and after 30 minutes, he pulled off.

“He was out of breath and he couldn’t keep up. Are we going to sign a player who can only do 30 minutes of training?” De Sa was quoted as saying in Kick Off.

However, Middendorp was not willing to comment on the statement made by De Sa, telling The Witness they would prepare him with the rest of the squad to ensure he is ready for the season.

The United coach said the coming season was about consistency as they aimed to improve on their 11th-place finish last year on the PSL log.

“Our advantage going into the new season is we have 20 players from last year and we have brought in six new players,” said Middendorp.

The six players are Mohammed, Bafana Bafana capped defender Robyn Johannes from Orlando Pirates, Thami Mkhize from Golden Arrows, Ashley Hartog from SuperSport United, Thokozani Sekotlong from Pretoria University and Nhlanhla Vilakazi from Ajax Cape Town.

However, United’s activity in the transfer window was not yet complete as the club are still on the lookout for a goalkeeper as they only have two players in that position.

Another issue that would be resolved was that of club captain for the coming season.

“At the moment we still have to sit and discuss it,” said the coach. Goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters served as the captain last season.

United begin their league campaign against National First Division champions Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium next Saturday.

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