United hope to strengthen midfield with new signing

2009-09-30 00:00

MARITZBURG United have signed former Lamontville Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates midfielder Bheka Phakathi, and are hoping to have the player registered in time for their Premier Soccer League game against Mamelodi Sundowns at Woodburn Stadium on Friday night.

Phakathi (33), out of contract from Arrows since the end of last season, has been training with United for the past two weeks while the PMB team ran the rule over the player’s fitness.

United CEO Afzal Khan said yesterday that the club have signed the once-exciting Pirates prospect as much as cover for central defence as the defensive midfield position he is best known for.

“We had Bheka training with the team for the past two weeks while we assessed his fitness. Our bio-kineticist, Burger van der Merwe, conducted a full analysis on him and the results were excellent,” Khan said.

“As a very versatile player we feel Bheka’s signing rounds out our squad more and gives us cover for areas where we might have been a bit thin. He is also a very experienced player, which will be a useful asset given the relatively young nature of our squad.”

Khan said United are waiting for Phakathi’s clearance to come through from Arrows so he can be registered as a United player in time for the PMB team’s clash against Sundowns.

“[United coach] Gordon [Igesund] has said he wants to field him on Friday night, so we are trying to get his papers through, and we’re confident he’ll be our player in time to play Sundowns.”

Phakathi’s move to United comes as something of a surprise given that he had been appointed as a player/development coach at Arrows.

But the player said yesterday he made the move because he was not yet ready to curtail his playing career, and he has signed a two-year contract with Maritzburg.

Phakathi played sporradically in the last two seasons at Arrows but always showed his class when he did take the field.

Khan yesterday urged all United supporters to buy tickets quickly for Friday night’s high-profile match as they are selling fast. Tickets are available at Computicket, the club offices at 397 Victoria Road, Bhamjee’s Sports in Boschoff Street, the Recto offices in Hoosen Haffejee Street and SuperSave in Retief Street.


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