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Star Bafana Bafana midfielder Benedict Vilakazi has signed a contract that will keep him at Swedish club Aalborg until 2012.
The former Orlando Pirates central midfielder left for Sweden about two weeks ago where he had been waiting to sign a deal, subject to a medical. News of the conclusion of his deal was confirmed by Bucs chairman Irvin Khoza yesterday.
"I can confirm that Vilakazi has signed a five-year contract with Aalborg. It is a very good deal for him and we got a good deal as a club," Khoza revealed.
Vilakazi has been the heart and soul of the Bucs team since joining them back at the start of the 1999-2000 season, winning the club's player of the year award on no less than three occasions.
This past season, one of the worst by Pirates' Premiership standards as they finished fifth, the 25-year-old midfielder finished as the club's leading goal scorer with six strikes.
Vilakazi could have left for Sweden as early as 2005 but the deal with Djugardens FC fell through when he faced statutory rape charges.
Pirates let go of their best player in a bid to afford him a change of scene after he was rocked by a series of sex escapades that culminated in a divorce that was finalised just over a week ago.
The Buccaneers have moved swiftly to fill Vilakazi's big shoes and so far Malawian Josephy Kamwendo seems the most suitable candidate.
Pirates have also ventured into the transfer market to plug the gaps left by Nigerian midfielder Onyekachi Okonkwo and Zambian Isaac Chansa.
They have signed Mlungisi Gumbi from Lamontville Golden Arrows and promoted Linda Mkhwanazi from their academy, who has been touted as heir-apparent to Vilakazi for a few seasons now.
Quick-silver Tlou Segolela, Kenny Thomas and Thulani Lukhele have also graduated from the academy to the first team.
The new kids are expected to take over from Gift Leremi, who has since joined Mamelodi Sundowns, and Jabu Mahlangu, who is on his way out.