Zulu’s agent in talks with United

2017-01-04 13:32
Football agent Mike Makaab will attempt to resolve the contract stand-off between midfielder Philani Zulu and his club Maritzburg United.

Football agent Mike Makaab will attempt to resolve the contract stand-off between midfielder Philani Zulu and his club Maritzburg United. (Gallo Images)

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With the January transfer window now wide open — an opportunity for teams across the country to buy, sell and loan players — football agent Mike Makaab has expressed concern over the ongoing dispute between his client, Philani Zulu, and Maritzburg United.

The Durban-based agent told The Witness he has had talks with the club management to try and resolve the issue after the player failed to agree personal terms in a new contract extension.
The 24-year-old, who is alleged to be unhappy with his pay, will see out his current deal (on the sidelines), which ends in June this year, before making a decision on his future.
But his agent has indicated that he hopes to meet with his client early next week before deciding if he wants to stay.
“He’s contracted to Maritzburg until the end of the season, the 30th of June 2017. Obviously, there’s been a fallout between himself and the club management and he’s at the moment training by himself.

“I have met with the club management. I’m now just waiting for Philani. He’s been away but I’m hoping that early next week him and I will get together and try and resolve this issue,” he said.

Zulu is the latest player to quit The Team of Choice in this manner, following in the footsteps of newly-signed Cape Town City defender Thamsanqa Mkhize, who rejected a new deal after three seasons with the club.

And Makaab was hoping to resolve the matter the same way he did with Mkhize last season.

The versatile defender was a regular last season, featuring in all their league games when they battled against relegation.
He had a brief spell with Orlando Pirates but his contract was terminated before he could even kick a ball. He was then signed by the rebranded Cape Town City on a free transfer, and club chairperson Farook Kadodia revealed to The Witness last week that he was hoping “it does not come to that” with Zulu.

Makaab explained: “It’s a situation that I’m trying to resolve and I’m hoping that exactly the same way I’ve resolved the Thami Mkhize matter, I’ll resolve the Philani Zulu matter because, most importantly, Philani is a talented player and he has to start playing football as soon as possible.”

Makaab said he was concerned about what Zulu’s six-month exile from competitive football might do to his career.
“Well, the truth is, he can sign a pre-contract with any club of his choice now in January. However, Maritzburg have made life tough for him that he can sit on the sidelines for another six months. I don’t have to tell you that a football player that doesn’t play competitive football for a season may never return to his best.

“And you know, Philani is not a youngster, he’s not 19 or 20 years old, beginning his career. He’s now in the palm of his career and needs to be playing regularly.

“My objective is to try and resolve the matter as soon as possible to get him to play as quickly as possible,” said the former Orlando Pirates coach.

He said he believed his client could not work well with former coach Ernst Middendorp, who resigned late last year.
“I just think that Philani wasn’t happy at Maritzburg. Ernst Middendorp is a very tough coach and I think the minute a football player and a football coach don’t see eye to eye, it’s very hard to retrieve a situation like that.

“Ernst is a professional man, very stubborn and I think that Philani is a very educated young man and he also has his thoughts and his principles. So, let’s say they’re two ingredients that you wouldn’t ordinarily mix and produce a beautiful cake from,” he concluded.

It appears that Zulu — who has only made two starts and one substitution for the club this season, with his last appearance on September 24, against Kaizer Chiefs — might not struggle to find a new home should his current six-month exile by the Team of Choice be lifted. Kadodia said he had been approached by a number of clubs.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg united

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