Absa Premiership

Maritzburg United revitalised by new signings

Eric Tinkler and Fortune Makaringe (Gallo Images)
Eric Tinkler and Fortune Makaringe (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Maritzburg United are pleased with a significant player boost that features a new striker in Clive Augusto along with fellow Zimbabwean Gabriel Nyoni being back to fitness.

Augusto, 25 has filled the last gap in United’s foreign quota as they seek to regain respect in the Absa Premiership after last season’s major troubles.

He has scored 14 goals in 18 games for title-chasing Chicken Inn in Zimbabwe’s Premier League and became United’s property yesterday after the two clubs completed a transfer for a "very reasonable amount", according to the local outfit. Augusto has penned a three-year deal with the option to extend for a further two years.

It has been reported that Black Leopards and Golden Arrows also wanted his signature, but he felt Maritzburg would be the best destination for him.

After bagging just one point from their first two matches of the new Premiership campaign, the unsettled Team of Choice visit newly-promoted Stellenbosch FC on Sunday and then entertain Black Leopards three days later.

Nyoni, meanwhile, was unable to feature in the team’s first home match of the season, an intense 1-1 draw with Highlands Park two Fridays ago, because of a muscle problem, but he has since recovered and is back doing normal training, according to United.

He was one of nine new men signed by them before the 2019/20 programme began and made an immediate debut when coach Eric Tinkler’s unit went down 1-0 to Golden Arrows in the opening round of league matches on August 4 in Durban. Oceania imports Dan Morgan and Micah Lea’Alafa, as well as Durban-born defensive recruit Kwanda Mngonyama, came into the picture for United’s next game against Highlands and now Augusto is the freshest foreign face in the squad.

The Team of Choice have also handed youngster Kameel Khan from Varsity College his first professional contract, for three years.

On the football scene overall, there have been plenty of shocks on and off the field of late, including the sudden departure of Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic to Egyptian giants Zamalek.

A result of this is that Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, Baroka and Chippa United are the only teams yet to taste defeat in either Premiership or MTN8 action since the season began three weeks ago. But it is just Sundowns in this small group who have contested league and knockout fixtures in a total of three domestic assignments; the rest have only played two league games because they failed to qualify for the MTN8 through last season’s final league standings.

Sundowns' unbeaten stance gets tested by Cape Town City in Pretoria in one of two Premiership fixtures tonight, while Pirates tackle their second game since Micho’s exit on Friday against equally troubled AmaZulu in Durban.

Both matches get going at 19:30 and then Sundowns and Pirates return to African Champions League duty on the weekend.

Against expectation, Bucs have suffered three losses over the past week, one each in the Champions League, Premiership and MTN8.

This means that the club’s remaining coaches Rhulani Mokwena and Fadlu Davids will be mighty desperate to come up with the right plan for this evening’s encounter with the winless Usuthu side of Cavin Johnson at King Zwelithini Stadium in the south of "Surf City".

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