BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS star Teenage Hadebe is set to earn more than US$1 million a season after his move to Dynamo Houston in the Major Soccer League (MSL).
The US club yesterday announced that they had agreed on a US$1,65m deal for the defender, who is joining from Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor, where he spent two years.
New Dynamo owner Ted Segal announced the signing of the former Chicken Inn player on a three-year contract during a Press conference.
Segal revealed the stiff competition he faced for the centreback’s signature, leaving him with no choice but to sign him as a “designated player (DP)”.
“He was not originally going to be a designated player, but his strong finish to the season [in Turkey] brought other teams into the fold, so we had to pay more,” Segal said.
The DP rule allows each club participating in the MLS to sign up to three players who will not be considered under the team’s salary cap, which enables them to sign and compete for high-profile players from the wider overseas international market.
The rule was introduced in anticipation of LA Galaxy’s signing of former Real Madrid and Manchester United mega star David Beckham in 2007.
Financial details of Hadebe’s contract were not revealed, but his DP status at the club means he will likely earn nothing less than a million annually.
His teammate Darwin Quintero, one of the designated players at Dynamo Houston, earned a jaw-dropping US$1 750 000 a season.
The other two who earned more than $1 million last year were Aljaz Struna and Mauro Manotas.
It was not clear yesterday which player from the three has been released to make way for Hadebe.
Houston Dynamo coach Tab Ramos revealed that his new acquisition had received offers elsewhere, but the Texas-based side managed to beat other suitors to the player’s signature.
“What I can tell you is that Teenage is very excited about coming. He wanted to choose here, although he had other opportunities that were the same or better,” Ramos told Houston Chronicle.
“And from speaking with him, he’s a very humble player who’s willing to come here and work as hard as he can and we’re excited about that.
“He fits very well into our system and our style of play. He has incredible recovery speed. He’s excellent in the air, he’s naturally left-footed. He has been competing in a league that is a very athletic league that is very similar to MLS.
“There’s a lot of transition. So I think really, what’s been important for us is to sit as a technical staff and with Tab and go through positional characteristics within our system.”
Prior to his time in Turkey, Hadebe starred for South African side, Kaizer Chiefs in 2019.
The 25-year-old is a regular in the Warriors set-up with 29 caps. He is expected to play a critical role when the senior team plays in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals, which will be his third appearance at the jamboree.
But before that, he is expected to line up for the Zdravko Logarušić-coached team in September’s World Cup qualifiers.
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