Maritzburg United left it late – until just before 11pm – to announce perhaps the biggest signing of transfer window’s deadline day of Cameroonian playmaker Yazid Atouba.
Atouba was registered with the PSL by United on Monday‚ but the deal had to be cleared on Fifa’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) late on Thursday night before it could be confirmed by the club.
Atouba signs from AS Vita Club in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The highly-rated forward‚ who has five caps for Cameroon‚ scored in Vita’s 1-1 Caf Champions league group stage draw against Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on June 9‚ connecting a neat‚ low volley from the edge of the area.
The signing displays the intent of a team who have gotten off to a flier in 2016-17 after their best PSL finish of seventh last season.
Maritzburg have beaten Sundowns 1-0 away in the MTN8 quarterfinals‚ and Platinum Stars 2-0 away‚ and Ajax Cape Town by the same margin at home‚ in the league.
Under new head coach Fadlu Davids – influential with an impressive win record last season – United also drew 1-1 last weekend against SuperSport United in the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal in Atteridegville‚ setting up a potential historic first cup final.
Atouba is being viewed by the KwaZulu-Natal club – traditionally gutsy bottom-half battlers – as a replacement for Kurt Lentjies‚ who did not fit into Davids’s plans and was traded to Chippa United in the off-season.
Maritzburg also beat Sundowns to the signing of the Ghanaian national No.1 goalkeeper Richard Ofori in the off-season.
The club have clearly set up an effective scouting network on the continent‚ resulting in signings such as Zimbabweans Cuthbert Malajila‚ now at Sundowns‚ and current striking prospect Evans Rusike.
Combined with a scouting and youth system tapping into the renowned talent from the KZN midlands set up by Davids and predecessor Ernst Middendorp‚ and a core of a squad kept together for two seasons‚ and United have the look of an emerging force in the PSL.