Maritzburg United in the money

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Durban - Maritzburg United has received a massive financial boost following the signing of a three-year sponsorship deal with the City of Pietermaritzburg, both parties announced on Monday.

The Premiership club signed a three-year deal worth R12 million per year and R36m in total with the Msunduzi Municipality.

“For a municipality to partner with a professional team (is something that) hasn’t been seen before,” said United chairman Farook Kadodia.

“So there is no doubt that this is history in the making. Having the support of the city is huge, the benefits are endless.”

The deal was concluded a little over a month after United turned down a similar offer by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality to relocate to Port Elizabeth.

“I think the most important fact was that the club had its loyalties to Pietermaritzburg, based on the directors’ own interest in the city and also from Pietermaritzburg themselves,” said Kadodia.

“The city really felt hurt to see a club potentially being lost.”

There are conditions attached to the deal, which involve performance and also the development of local players, while the city also wants to spread the game to other venues other than the current home ground of Harry Gwala Stadium.

“There is obviously pressure, but I am quite confident that having these funds will enable us to work much easier,” the United boss said.

“The last six years we’ve been very close to the top eight, but hopefully this will now be the year when we break through.”

The club also announced the signing of 16 new players, most of them youngsters recruited from trials, to make up for the loss of over 10 others.

However, the biggest piece of business was possibly to retain coach Steve Komphela, who was strongly linked with a move to Chippa United during the off-season.

“Yes (it was vital for him to stay) because importantly Steve Komphela is the brand ambassador of the team first, whether it is on the field or off it,” Kadodia added.

“He has the charisma to get the best out of players.

“We’ve seen that for the last six months when the same players that basically lost their confidence in that Christmas period, had a new lease of life.

“I firmly believe that Steve had something to do with that. He’s a role player himself and people want to be attached to him and the brand.”

Sapa


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