The PSL's new highest paid player is...

By Charles Baloyi

Bafana Bafana striker Sibusiso Zuma has signed a lucrative two-year deal with Mamelodi Sundowns.

Zuma is set to be the highest paid footballer in the country with a reported R200 000 per month salary.

The record-breaking signing is closely followed by Zimbabwe international goal poacher Peter Ndlovu, signed from English Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday, in the income stakes.

Ndlovu is reportedly earning over R120 000 a month.

The 33-year-old striker passed his medical test at the weekend and signed on the dotted line with the five-time PSL champions after lengthy negotiations.

Zuma was offered a new contract by his German side Armenia Bielefeld but opted to return home after an eight-year spell in European football.

He was also on the wanted list of relegated English Premier League side Birmingham City, Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and unknown clubs in Saudi Arabia.

Downs were able to match Zuma's high salary demands but the Durban-born veteran will only join the team after recovering from a knee injury.

He has missed four games for the national team in the African Nations Cup qualifiers.

An insider at Downs confirmed the acquisition and believes that it is a sign of the team's intention for a clean sweep on both the domestic and continental competitions.

"Puma", as his known to his supporters, the sensational striker started his career with an amateur side, Mighty PA before securing a move to Durban-based African Wanderers in the National First Division.

Wanderers were eventually promoted to the PSL with Zuma forming a deadly trio with Phumlani Mkhize and Siyabonga Nomvete.

They helped the KwaZulu Natal side to have a good season resulting in Orlando Pirates swooping on Zuma and Mkhize while Nomvete was signed by Kaizer Chiefs.

In 2000, Pirates sold Zuma to Danish champions FC Copenhagen where he further established himself as a valuable player and won the player of the year award in 2004/2005.

He had a dream season helping his side win the Danish championship and qualify for the Uefa Champions League.

His starring role in the club was duly rewarded when he was voted in their Hall of Fame, joining a list which includes the all-time great, Michael Laudrup.

He is the only African player to win that award since it was introduced in 1993.

In the hope of landing more Champion League glory, Zuma joined Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld in Germany.

Bielefeld currently have two South African players on their books - goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez and midfield kingpin Siyabonga Nkosi.

Zuma has 57 international caps and represented his country in the 2002 Fifa World Cup.

He captained Bafana at the 2006 African Nations Cup finals in Egypt and was in the team that travelled to the finals in Ghana earlier this year. He scored against Senegal in the 1-1 draw in the group stages.

Zuma has a prolific goal scoring record but is injury prone.

Sundowns will hope that injuries will not hamper his progress once the Absa Premiership campaign gets underway in August.

Downs are also reported to have signed the SuperSport United striker Katlego Mphela, who has long been linked with the move to Mamelodi.

They are also believed to have made an offer for rightback Siboniso Gaxa.




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