DURBAN - Maritzburg United Chairman Farouk Kadodia has indicated that he may be open to selling the club's DSTV Premiership status.
”I’m trying to follow a short-term process to see if I can either procure an equity partner or a sponsor. If I fail at that, I will no option but to become more receptive to a potential buyer,” Kadodia told Independent Media.
The pandemic has taken a major financial toll on football clubs throughout the world with the impact being even more severe on so-called mid-table clubs such as Maritzburg United as they do not have the same access to funding and sponsorship as compared to the traditional giants of the game.
The situation of Maritzburg means that it is likely that the club’s stars Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Thabiso Kutumela will be leaving the club this winter. Kutumela almost single-handedly saved the Team of Choice from relegation last season as he scored 12 goals. In the process, he also established himself as one of the best attackers in the Premiership, earning a Bafana Bafana recall in the process.
Kutumela has been linked with a potential move to Mamelodi Sundowns and across Kwa-Zulu Natal to AmaZulu who are currently preparing for continental football.
The 21-year-old Hlongwane had an impressive season as his work rate saw him earn a nomination for the DSTV Premiership Young Player of the Season award. He also scored in Bafana Bafana’s recent 3-2 friendly international victory over Uganda.
Maritzburg United does have a reputation for grooming players before selling them once they start to shine. Notable players that came through the ranks of the Pietermaritzburg based club in recent years before departing include Richard Ofori, Roshine De Reuck, Fortune Makaringe and Siphesihle Ndlovu.
The Team of Choice finished 13th in the league last season with 30 points. They looked destined for relegation in the first half of last season before a Thabiso Kutumela inspired resurgence that was aided by some strong tactics by mentor, Ernst Middendorp helped them to avoid the drop.
Buying Premiership status’ is nothing new in South Africa football. TS Galaxy attained promotion to the top-flight last season by virtue of buying the status of Highlands Park who now play in the ABC Motsepe League.
Similarly Marumo Gallants FC, formerly Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila attained their promotion to the Premiership at the start of last season by acquiring the status of the now-defunct Bidvest Wits.