United to part ways with big names

2012-06-05 00:00

IT still isn’t clear where Maritzburg United will be playing their football next season, but that hasn’t stopped coach Ernst Middendorp from fine tuning his squad ahead of the new campaign.

United’s bosses are still in the process of deciding whether or not to accept a three-year deal worth R20 million to play next season’s matches in Port Elizabeth, but whatever the outcome of that conundrum is, Prince Olomu, Wayne Matle and Morné Davids will not be around to experience it.

The three midfielders have all been shoved onto the transfer list by Middendorp as the German coach looks to fine-tune his squad.

Olomu is the biggest name on the list and perhaps the most shocking after the Nigerian was touted as United’s major signing at the beginning of last season. Known for his goal-scoring ability, Olomu failed to make an impression at United and found the net just twice last season. By the end of the campaign, Olomu was finding it difficult to break into Middendorp’s match day squad, let alone the starting lineup.

“We had high expectations for Prince and it was certainly disappointing to see his poor form last season,” United chairperson Farouk Kadodia told The Witness yesterday. “I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was just the environment of Pietermaritzburg that didn’t appeal to him [Olomu], but we never got the best out of him.”

Matle had begun to enjoy some game time under Middendorp in the second half of the season, but he too found himself amongst the reserves by its culmination.

In another move out of the hands of Middendorp and Kadodia, lively Nigerian winger Felix Obada will almost certainly be sold by the club before the beginning of the new season.

Kadodia confirmed that PSL runners-up Moroka Swallows had made an offer for the player, but that Obada had asked the club that a move to a European team be considered.

“Felix approached us and he felt that he had served his time in Maritzburg,” Kadodia confirmed. “We are now waiting for offers to be confirmed from Turkey and Serbia and we will take it from there.”

Kadodia acknowledged that replacing a player of Obada’s quality would be a difficult task.

“He has given us three years of fantastic service,” the chairperson said. “But at the end of the day you can either have a happy player giving you 100% or an unhappy player giving you 10%; he wants to go.”

Kadodia added that the decision on whether to play next season in Pietermaritzburg or Port Elizabeth would dictate how United go about buying new players for the next season.

“There will be different budgets available based on whether we play in Maritzburg or PE, so we can’t start buying yet,” he said.

The club have met both local and provincial government over the last week in an attempt to find a way to stay in the city.

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