Ivorian striker Yannick Zakri has finally completed his move from Mamelodi Sundowns to Maritzburg United. Photo: @MaritzburgUtd on twitter

DURBAN – Maritzburg United chairman, Farook Kadodia, is hopeful that the signing of Yannick Zakri will turn things around for the Team of Choice.
Zakri finally signed on the dotted line for United yesterday. He penned a two-year deal.

The Ivorian international was on the books of Mamelodi Sundowns. He arrived in Pietermaritzburg a week ago. Kadodia explained why it took Zakri such a long time to sign for the Team of Choice.

“We had very sensitive negotiations with Sundowns. It was not an easy transition (for the player). We needed them to come to the party. We had to make sure that he is a player that we can afford.

“We are delighted that we have signed him. He is a quality player. Zakri will help us turn things around,” Kadodia said.

United were dealt a major blow when Mamelodi Sundowns signed one of their star players, Lebohang Maboe.

United have had a dismal start to the new season. They are still searching for their first win in all competitions. The Team of Choice registered their first point on Friday when they drew 0-0 against Kaizer Chiefs at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

They lost their opening two league games against Lamontville Golden Arrows and Free State Stars. Cape Town City then dumped them out of the MTN8 at home in the quarter-finals.

“Zakri will add some value in the team. He is an international player. His experience will be valuable for the club,” Kadodia added.

Zakri was on loan at Ajax Cape Town last season where he impressed with stellar performances. This is what Kadodia had to say about their slow start: “We are not panicking. We’ve only played three games. We have to turn things around against Bidvest Wits.”

United are unlikely to add another acquisition after concluding the Zakri deal.

“We don’t have money now. We won’t be signing any players, not unless something happens to one of our players. For now we are okay.”

After parting ways with Bevan Fransman and Maboe, United signed Keagan Buchanan, Nazeer Allie, Denwin Farmer and Justice Figauredo.

Elsewhere, Cavin Johnson is impressed by the performance of his new recruits at AmaZulu.

Johnson beefed up his squad with some exciting acquisitions before the start of the new season.

He signed goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, striker Emiliano Tade, midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi and defender Marc van Heerden.

Vilakazi has been colossal for Usuthu in the middle of the park while Josephs has been marshalling the defence with distinction.

Tade opened his scoring account with a screamer this past weekend against Free State Stars at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi in an Absa Premiership tussle.

Speaking with the media after the game, Johnson expressed his delight with his new signings.

“This is the quality that made us to bring Emiliano to South Africa. If he does this all the time he will be difficult to stop. We know that he has the calmness and technique,” Johnson said of his new striker from Argentina.

Usuthu made it two out of two at home this season.

Goals from Tade and Mhlengi Cele cancelled the own goal netted by Mbongeni Gumede and handed Usuthu maximum points against Free State Stars.

In their opening fixture at home, AmaZulu got the better of Baroka FC 1-0. “We didn’t bring Nhlanhla Vilakazi here for nothing. I thought he was outstanding. Moeneeb as well. He made two very good saves,” Johnson added.

Usuthu have collected six points in three league matches. They lost away to SuperSport United last week. About his side’s good start, Johnson said: “We can only be happy because we have won two out of three. It is still very early days.

“We played the game against SuperSport the other day and I don’t think we should have lost the game. Today (Sunday), we showed that we’ve got quality. We need to know how to use the quality.”

Meanwhile Independent Media spotted Sundowns marksman, Bongi Ntuli, at King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday.

Team manager at AmaZulu, Qedi Dlamini, confirmed that they would like to have Ntuli on board.

“We would love to have his service but it is difficult to get him. At this stage there are no talks between AmaZulu and Ntuli,” Dlamini elaborated.

Ntuli was recently in Sweden where he tried his luck with Djurgardens. He is still contracted to Sundowns. An attempt to get hold of his agent, Mandla Mthembu, proved futile as his phone rang unanswered.


The Mercury

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