Maritzburg on brink of big loss

Fortune Makaringe of Maritzburg United is hot property after a successful season and may not stay.
Fortune Makaringe of Maritzburg United is hot property after a successful season and may not stay.
Image: Gallo Images

History will look back with a smile on Maritzburg United's season this year after the side captured the imagination of SA's football-loving masses.

With their grit and indomitable spirit, they superseded all expectations by finishing fourth in the league and qualifying for a final for the first time in the Nedbank Cup.

But when an underdog club over-performs, it opens itself up to a raid from poachers.

Could the Team of Choice now become the victim of their own success?

The history books give us a number of lessons on the topic - with what happened to Jose Mourinho's FC Porto, the 1995 Ajax team and the African Wanderers side of Sibusiso Zuma, Siyabonga Nomvethe and Phumlani Mkhize.

It appears the exodus is already under way with the Team of Choice skipper Bevan Fransman having apparently declined a contract extension, as Cape Town City are eager to sign him.

Maritzburg management will find it tough to hold on to Siphesihle Ndlovu, 21, Lebohang Maboe, 23, Fortune Makaringe, 25, Siyanda Xulu, 26, Deolin Mekoa, 24, and even their coach Fadlu Davids, 36.

There are a number of factors against Maritzburg that may lead to the team being dismembered in the off-season.

Financial incentive

It is well known that some of their players are on the wanted list of the bigwigs in the PSL. It is not only the players who stand to benefit from a bigger salary but the club can cash in from transfer fees.

Lack of sponsorship

Club boss Farook Kadodia has on numerous occasions lamented not having a sponsor. Not having a backer means more pressure on a club's finances and having limited resources. This makes it even harder to retain top talent, as players are lured by better salaries elsewhere.

Big club allure

It may turn into the proverbial case of big fish in a small pond as some players look to spread their wings. Nobody can blame players for wanting to grow and further their careers. Most footballers dream of playing for the biggest teams in the country. And with Maritzburg having failed to get their first medal when they surrendered the Nedbank Cup to Free State Stars, some players might feel their dreams of winning trophies lie elsewhere.