JOHANNESBURG – The departure of an experienced and versatile defender like Denis Weidlich to Wits won’t affect Maritzburg United’s standing as one of the PSL’s strongest defences.
That’s the belief of Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids, who feels the Team of Choice are well covered defensively to make up for the departure of the 31-year-old German who also captained the club. Instead the arrival of left-back Bokang Tlhone in a swop deal with the Students gives greater balance to the Maritzburg defence, according to Davids.
The Midlands outfit have conceded nine league goals, which together with Kaizer Chiefs, makes them one of the league’s meanest defensive sides.
“When Weidlich came here we knew he wanted to move to a bigger club. It’s a good move for him at his age to get a long-term deal. He’s done well for us but we’ve got enough depth,” said Davids.
“Weidlich was used on the left because we never signed a left-back at the beginning of the season, always making do with him and (Siphesihle) Ndlovu who are right footers. With Bokang we have more balance.”
Weidlich’s transfer opens the way for Kenyan international Brian Onyango to push for a spot among the experienced backline personnel. There are also rookie defenders Rushine de Reuck and Motsie Matima waiting for action. The pair featured as substitutes in the weekend’s 2-1 win at Ajax Cape Town, where the latter made his debut.
The young coach was also looking forward to increased competition in the middle of the park, where the club promoted Lindokuhle Sithole and Ujuan McDonald. Both are Maritzburg products who recently completed matric, and “will look to break through in the next six months,” said Davids.
“They did pre-season with us and played with the first team whenever school allowed. They have been in the reserve team and have been training with the first team, so they are familiar with everything.
“It’s important to give young players a chance. The average age of the squad also goes lower, and with younger players you can help them develop to play different positions.”
Although Maritzburg missed out on acquiring Kwanda Mngonyama, the squad will be boosted by the return of several players from injury, which Davids likened to being new signings.