Sheppard on Wits trial

GREAT CROSSER: Veteran former Maritzburg United midfielder Dillon Sheppard set to join Bidvest Wits Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
GREAT CROSSER: Veteran former Maritzburg United midfielder Dillon Sheppard set to join Bidvest Wits Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

VETERAN winger Dillon Sheppard has been offered a career lifeline by Bidvest Wits, who have taken him on trial to their pre-season training camp in Stellenbosch.

Should the 35-year-old impress coach Gavin Hunt, he could be offered a contract for the season, club officials said yesterday.

The former international, described by many coaches as being the best crosser of the ball in the Premier Soccer League, looked to be at the end of his career in April when Maritzburg United brought a premature end to his season by releasing him.

Sheppard, along with Delron Buckley and Robyn Johannes, was controversially told he was no longer needed before the end of his contract terms as coach Steve Komphela saw no future for them at the KwaZulu-Natal-based club.

Sheppard, one of the first graduates of the School of Excellence, is now in the veteran category and had been toying with moving into coaching.

He has overcome some serious injury in his career, which saw him win 18 caps for Bafana Bafana.

Hunt seems to have a soft spot for veterans in his squad, last season he employed both Benjani Mwaruwari and Matthew Booth. Both have since retired.

The Students had a steady diet of matches over the last week in Cape Town as they continue preparations for the new season. They are scheduled to return to Gauteng this week.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe international defender Partson Jaure is on the brink of signing for University of Pretoria, reports from Harare said yesterday.

The first-choice international is due to arrive in Pretoria this week to conclude negotiations, according to sources at his Harare club Dynamos. The report suggested AmaTuks had beaten off a bid from Orlando Pirates for the centre-back as they seek a replacement for Buhle Mkhwanazi, who was sold to Wits last week.

Jaure captained Zimbabwe to fourth place at the African Nations Championship tournament in Cape Town at the start of the season and is set to join a sudden flurry of talent from the country into the Premier Soccer League for next month's start of the new season.

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