Curse of a new club


Johannesburg - If it wasn’t for bad luck, these players would have been able to display their God-given talent as soon as they joined their new clubs.

They suffered the misfortune of getting injured even before they could show their new employers their skills.

Bounce back

While Barcelona supporters have to wait for about three weeks before seeing their new recruit Philippe Coutinho in action, Kaizer Chiefs followers have to wait even longer before Kabelo Mahlasela will be unleashed.

Mahlasela has joined a growing list of players who were injured before donning their new clubs’ jerseys last week.

But the former Bloemfontein Celtic midfield maestro has vowed to bounce back.

“This is just a temporary setback and I will be back stronger,” the pint-sized midfielder said during his unveiling as an Amakhosi player a few days ago.  He could be out for about three months after undergoing surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his left knee.

Mamelodi Sundowns are still waiting for Bafana Bafana defender Rivaldo Coetzee to make his debut – he joined the club in August. Coetzee joined with a foot injury, which scuppered his proposed move to Scottish giants Celtic.

Sundowns signed Coetzee from Ajax Cape Town. However, he was nursing an injury that has kept him out of action for almost five months. It is still not known when he will start playing.

Knee injury

New Barca signee Coutinho may only be ready to play next month, so Barca fans have to wait to enjoy the talents of the 25-year-old Brazil international. Barcelona have confirmed that the former Liverpool midfielder has a thigh injury and will not be able to make an immediate debut for the club.

The team at the top of the Barclays Premier League, Manchester City, had their new defender Benjamin Mendy ruled out for almost the entire season after he had played only five matches for the club. He was struck down by a knee injury in September. The former Monaco defender was initially ruled out until April, but has made good progress and could be back before then.

Another City signing, Ilkay Gündogan, had to endure the pain of sitting on the sidelines after his season was cut short by a long-term injury last year.

The 27-year-old German has been plagued by problems during his time in Manchester. He arrived at the club with a back injury last year and missed most of the year because of knee ligament damage. He missed Germany’s World Cup triumph in 2014 through injury, as well as last year’s European Championships.

Another Sundowns defender, Anele Ngcongca, had to wait for about eight months before playing his first official game for the Brazilians last season.

The right-back suffered a minor knee injury during training early on in the season and was only cleared to play eight months later.

Stress fracture

Two other Chiefs players had to delay their official debuts as they were nursing injuries.

Zimbabwean defender Teenage Hadebe suffered an ankle injury, however, since playing his first game in November, four months after joining the club from Chicken Inn, he has played six full matches ahead of Saturday night's game against Polokwane City.

Last season, another defender – Daniel Cardoso – spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines recovering from a stress fracture in his shin bone. But they come back stronger and eager to make up for the lost time.

Supporters cannot wait to see what Mahlasela and Coutinho will do for their new clubs.

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