United staying home

2016-06-08 06:00

MARITZBURG United chairperson Farook Kadodia this week categorically denied reports that they would be selling the club to Moroka Swallows.

Soccer Laduma reported that Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi was leading a consortium to buy relegated first division club Moroka Swallows, and would in turn purchase the Premier League status of the Team of Choice, returning the fallen Soweto giants to the top flight.

But, Kadodia dismissed the rumours, saying that the rumours were being spread by those who were trying to destabilise the club.

United have just survived a rollercoaster season that saw them escape relegation from the top flight with wins in their final two games after having been bottom of the league virtually the entire season.

Despite their troubles, Harry Gwala Stadium was packed to the rafters for home games as Maritzburgers have taken to their club.

“I don’t exactly know who is playing mind games and coming up with this stuff. We have not spoken to Moroka Swallows and this is not true,” Kadodia stressed.

According to Soccer Laduma, citing anonymous sources, a verbal agreement was in place for the consortium to purchase Maritzburg United.

Kadodia denied that any of that was true.

“At no stage have we indicated any intentions in selling the club. We have no idea who is trying to destabilise us and why,” the chairperson continued. “Whoever has come up with this story must come to me with the facts.

“I am very upset by this. The team will not leave PMB. We are committed to the people of Pieter­maritzburg, to the people of KZN, and our partnership with the Msunduzi Municipality,” he said.

Planning for next season has already begun, and coach Ernst Middendorp, who rescued the club from relegation after being appointed halfway through the season, has signed a new contract that will see him remain with the club for two more years.

Kadodia said the club had also rebuffed an approach from Kaizer Chiefs, who are interested in the services of United’s top goalscorer and player of the season Evans Rusike.

The Zimbabwean’s movements off the ball, with the ball, pace and finishing was something many remarked about during United’s demanding campaign.

“Rusike will be with Maritzburg, so will [Deolin] Mekoa,” said Kadodia.

The only player the club have released was Khumbulani Banda, while Kadodia said they were still in the process of negotiating contract extensions with goalkeeper Tawfeeq Salie and defenders/midfielders David Booysen and Thami Mkhize.

On-loan Defenders Tamsanqa Teyise and Kwanda Mngonyama would be returning to parent clubs SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns. Kadodia confirmed that they were interested in bringing Mngonyama back as the Sundowns man has been a rock in United’s defence over the last two seasons.

Mekoa has a date with Neymar and Brazil in Rio and will therefore miss the start of next season.

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