Malajila seals Maritzburg deal

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Cuthbert Malajila has joined South African Absa Premiership side Maritzburg United on a four-year deal.

The deal was concluded yesterday afternoon after Dynamos agreed to Maritzburg’s offer for the former Chapungu and Highlanders striker, believed to be around $70 000.

Malajila’s manager Gibson Mahachi confirmed the developments: “The deal has just been concluded. He signed for two years with an option of another two and that has already been negotiated, so it’s basically for four years.

“It’s good for the player, he deserves it and he has been working so hard. This will also serve as an encouragement to other players to work hard. He had already agreed personal terms.

“So for now, we are running around with some paperwork that we need to send through to South Africa by next week, so the club can start processing his work permit.”

Malajila, who turns 27 on October 3, will be reunited with returning coach Ernst Middendorp, who had a look at the player in 2010 before deciding against signing him. Middendorp replaced Ian Palmer who was fired last week.

While Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa will be sad to see the man who pushed his side to the League and Cup double last season, Malajila certainly deserves a break into the SA Premiership.

Pasuwa will now bank on Rodreck Mutuma, Martin Vengesayi, Takesure Chinyama and new Zambian recruit Derrick Kabwe.

The Team of Choice, as Maritzburg is known, is in position 11 on the log with 19 points from 15 matches and sits 12 points away from log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Their leading scorer is Diyo Sibisi with six goals while Felix Obada and Mor Diouf have hit three each from the team’s total of 16.

Their opening match of the second term is against Wits at the Bidvest Stadium on February 15 and by then Malajila — who has also had stints in Tunisia and Libya, in the process becoming the first Zimbabwean to play in those leagues — would expect to be ready for his debut.

Malajila also had a trial at Belgian club Cercle Brugge, but it ended with the club declining to offer him a contract.

Maritzburg was born 26 years ago and right from its infancy, current owner and chairman Farook Kadodia was passionately involved in the club’s progress.

The team was then campaigning in the now defunct Federation Professional League (FPL) and at that stage, 19-year-old Farook had just completed his matric and was assisting the other glory boys of the FPL, Maritzburg City.

When the former had folded, Kadodia was approached by the executive of the
FPL to start a professional outfit and keep professional football in Maritzburg, together with local businessman Brian Rupram.

Maritzburg United was born. However, due to emerging family business and its pressures, the club was taken over by new ownership, only for Farook and brother, Imraan Kadodia, to reacquire Maritzburg United Football Club in 1997 with the
vision to create a fully professional club whose mission was to promote itself to the country’s elite Professional Soccer League — which they eventually did with the acquisition of the Tembisa Classic franchise in 2005.