DURBAN – Goodman Dlamini feels no iota of regret at having denied his home province its first taste of success in the country's premier club knockout competition.
The Free State Stars player whose goal ensured Maritzburg United finished second best in the weekend's Nedbank Cup final in Cape Town says his loyalty is with the club that pays his salary and not his home province.
“Yes, I won the trophy against a team from my home province but it doesn’t matter. What matters the most it is the fact that I won my first trophy after a long wait,” Dlamini said after the match, clutching at his gold medal and his face beaming with joy.
“Even if I was playing against any other opponent, I was going to be happy. I’m extremely happy.”
Born and bred in KwaNongoma in KwaZulu-Natal, Dlamini was just pleased to have won his maiden trophy of his professional career and even happy that he helped Stars end their 24-year drought.
Provincial sentiments, he said, has no place in the professional game - it is about making yourself happy.
“It was difficult to play for so long without winning a medal. It is not nice. You can even lose hope because I’m not getting any younger,” the 33-year-old “I wanted to have something to point at after playing career.”
I’m happy that finally I landed my first medal. This was my first cup final. That’s why it was important to win it. We had to double our efforts. If Maritzburg United put in 100%, we had to put 120%.”
Dlamini joined Stars two seasons back from AmaZulu whom he left after they got relegated.
The fact that he now has his first winners' medal and will also be going to compete in the Caf Confederation Cup next season is somewhat surreal for him. But such are the rewards of hard-work and never giving up.
“It is was one of my goals to play in Africa before I retire. Playing in Africa will help me to grow as player. I’m looking forward to the adventure. We will be playing against the best teams on the continent. Hard work and the cohesion has been the secret to our accomplishments.“
Meanwhile Maritzburg have confirmed that they have parted way with the veteran defender Bevan Fransman.
Fransman (34) played his last game for the Team of Choice in the defeat by Stars at the weekend.
“Yes, Bevan is leaving. His contract came to an end. We were disappointed that his agent was shopping him around.”
“Agents love that to get a free contract players so that they can market them around. We would have loved to keep Bevan but it was beyond our control,” club boss Kadodia explained.
Fransman had a remarkable season and is in line to win the Absa Premiership defender of the season award for which he is nominated along with teammate and partner Siyanda Xulu as well as Innocent Maele of Orlando Pirates.
Fransman was the club captain. He joined United in 2016 from Bloemfontein Celtic.
Denwin Farmer will replace him at the Team of Choice. Farmer struggled for game time during tenure with SuperSport United.
On the upside, striker Andrea Fileccia has extended his contract with the club.
“Andrea Fileccia’s contract has already been extended. We had a one year option on his contract and we’ve exercised that option. He has got a new agent now and we will negotiate with an agent to see whether we can do a new contract.”
“As for the security of the contract we have exercised the option. If we have to do a new contract, it has to be a two year or further one year contract but that shouldn’t be realised now,” Kadodia said.
United fans can expect a very busy window period according to Kadodia.
“We are looking for at least four players where the coach has identified weaknesses in the team. We also understand that we have a very small depth in our team. We will be looking for four seasoned players to come and help young players. The youngsters have benefitted from experienced players.”
“We challenged very well this season and we are hoping for even better season in 2018/19.” Kadodia explained.