DURBAN – Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids revealed that the club didn’t sign a replacement for their former captain, Kurt Lentjies, because they had already earmarked Mlondi Dlamini as the player to fill the void left by their midfield maestro.
But Dlamini died a week ago in a car accident and was laid to rest in his home town of Howick on Saturday.
Last season, Dlamini was one of the stars in the Multichoice Diski Challenge, and it came as no surprise when he was nominated for the Player of the Season award.
Davids, who was one of the speakers at the funeral, revealed that the Team of Choice had been dealt a major blow by the loss of Dlamini.
“When our captain Kurt decided to move at the beginning of the season, the media were questioning why we weren’t replacing him... We didn’t want to put Mlondi under pressure, but deep down we knew that ‘Vicks’ was the one to replace Kurt. Of course, God had his own plans.”
Dlamini (20) was known for his dribbling skills and the ability to take on defenders with his pace. He made his PSL debut last season, and due to injury, was yet to make an appearance this season.
In 2015, Dlamini was the best player at the Kay Motsepe Schools Tournament where he represented Sukuma High School.
After his brilliant displays in the MDC, Dlamini was called up to the SA Under-20 team last year.
“He did some things that you sometimes just stood on the training pitch and said: ‘You can’t coach that’,” Davids continued.
“It is a God-given talent. Roger de Sa was the one who gave him his debut, bringing him on in a match we lost to SuperSport United. He made a brief substitute appearance in De Sa’s last game against Highlands Park before the coach resigned.
“His first start was against Chippa United last season. Ironically, it is the match we are about to play next. I remember watching that game last week before Vicks passed on. He performed like a season professional... The game wasn’t on TV and the next game was on TV in front of the Harry Gwala faithful where we won against Cape Town City.
“Kurt was the Man of the Match. It was a proud moment when (Dlamini was called off the bench)... the Harry Gwala Stadium gave him a big round of applause. In my eyes, he was the Man of the Match,” Davids concluded.