United not rushing to make signings, says coach

2010-07-21 00:00

MARITZBURG United have so far made just the one signing for the new season in goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters, who the club had on loan from Bloemfontein Celtic last season, but coach Ernst Middendorp said the team are in no rush to conclude transfers.

United are also on the verge of signing Nigerian forward Ayo Oluwafemi from relegated Jomo Cosmos.

Just 20 players took part in yesterday’s training session on the Woodburn outer fields, and Middendorp said three or four of them were triallists.

While this may not seem like much of a squad with six weeks until United kick of the new Premier Soccer League season away to AmaZulu on August 29, Middendorp said the club would prefer to wait for quality players to be available before making signings.

The coach said he believes a compact squad is the way forward for United.

“We were just talking now and [assistant coach] Salie [Adams] expressed it best when he said, ‘a small squad is a happy squad’.

“We are not getting approached by, and don’t really want, players with a huge status coming here with a huge mind. We have a core of players here from last season such as Rudolf Bester, Chilis Madondo, Musa Nyatama, Shu-aib Walters and Mor Diouf, and that’s about eight players already — and I trust those players.

“Then we just need to look at two or three positions. We need a centre-back to cover for Mario Booysen and a striker to add quality to the team.

“Teams like Sundowns and Pirates have big squads and some young players who will not get a game in the coming season. I am sure in August players will start to become available. We want to sign quality and there is no rush.”

While there appears no chance of retaining last season’s on-loan central defender Booysen from Ajax, United are still in negotiations with Mamelodi Sundowns to buy midfielder Kurt Lentjies.

Fresh from his role as an analyst for the SABC during the World Cup, and having also watched a number of games live, Middendorp said he believes the tournament can have a short-term effect on the football displayed in the PSL this season.

“I would like to see players showing a flexible ability,” the United coach said. “Look at Germany, who had Mueller playing wide who plays in the centre for his club [Bayern Munich]. Bastian Schweinsteige­r does not play in defensive midfield for Bayern, but did so for Germany. These players did not complain or have a mentality of not being able to fill those roles.

“At the World Cup the emphasis was also on a team effort first and foremost, and then within that the individual qualities of each and every player can deliver something. There was speed, pace and a high rate of ball possession.”

Middendorp said he has spoken about ball possession and quality passing with the players.

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