United set to lose a string of players

2012-06-22 00:00

MARITZBURG United look set to be fielding a new-look side when the 2012/13 PSL season gets under way.

It is highly likely that when United travel to newly-promoted University of Pretoria in the second week of August, they will be doing so without three of their biggest names — winger Felix Obada, defender Mor Diouf and midfielder Kurt Lentjies.

All three players would be entering their last contracted year with United.

Club chairperson Farouk Kadodia yesterday confirmed the departure of Obada to last season’s runners-up Moroka Swallows.

“The deal has been confirmed in principle,” Kadodia said. “Felix felt the time was right to leave — he is happy and we are happy.”

Lentjies, who captained United for much of last season, has been the target of Free State club Bloemfontein Celtic. While a deal has not been confirmed between player and club, Kadodia acknowledged that the final decision would lie with Lentjies and that Celtic had put forward “a very good offer”.

“Kurt has not given us any indication that he wants to go, but he has been in negotiations with Celtic,” the chairperson added.

Diouf, viewed by many commentators as United’s stand-out player last season, has made his intentions to leave for a bigger club clear.

While he is looking for a move to a European club, no formal offers have been made yet.

“That is taking a while,” said Kadodia. “If we don’t do a deal in the next few days then we will look at trying to extend his contract to stay with us.”

This seems unlikely, with Mamelodi Sundowns reported to have expressed an interest in the Senegalese centre-back.

It doesn’t stop there, either.

Prince Olomu, Wayne Matle and Morné Davids all still find themselves on the transfer list. Olomu was United’s major signing last season, but failed to impress throughout the campaign, and Kadodia said yesterday the club was “still trying to find a home for him”.

Davids looks set to be sold to an NFD franchise, while there has been no movement from any club to sign Matle.

Crowd favourite Diyo Sibisi also looks set to be let go. The 30-year-old found himself falling behind Zimbabwean Cuthbert Malajila in the United pecking order and only managed to finish the season with seven league goals.

“We need to place him well in the transfer market, and we know that he will be very disappointed to leave,” Kadodia said.

If United are to enter next season without Obada, Lentjies, Diouf, Sibisi, Olomu, Matle and Davids, they will have lost a large chunk of their regular players and will need to do a lot of shopping themselves.

“We are in the process of securing around four or five new players that we will hopefully be able to confirm in the coming weeks,” he said, while staying tight-lipped on who they were. “We need to find a good balance between youth and experience that will take the team into a top eight position.”

One player who was on the verge of being signed by United was 30-year-old attacking midfielder Siyabonga Nkosi.

“The player had indicated that he wanted to come to us, but when the decision was made not to go to Port Elizabeth he decided to move back to Kaizer Chiefs,” said Kadodia of one of last year’s stand-out performers for Durban club Golden Arrows. “This is the battle we have when trying to bring players to Maritzburg — we do not have world-class facilities.”

• sport@witness.co.za

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