Stellenbosch pull off major coup with the signing of Zambian Sinkala from TP Mazembe

ES Setif player Isla daoudi diomande (L) and TP Mazembe player NATHAN SINKALA (R) fight for the ball during the CAF Champions League soccer match between ES Setif of Algiers of Algeria and TP Mazembe of Congo at the 8 May 1945 Stadium, Algeria, 17 August 2018.
ES Setif player Isla daoudi diomande (L) and TP Mazembe player NATHAN SINKALA (R) fight for the ball during the CAF Champions League soccer match between ES Setif of Algiers of Algeria and TP Mazembe of Congo at the 8 May 1945 Stadium, Algeria, 17 August 2018.
Image: BACKPAGE

Stellenbosch FC have pulled off a major coup with the signing of heralded Zambian midfielder Nathan Sinkala from TP Mazembe, which coach Steve Barker admits is a massive show of ambition by the club.

The 28-year-old Nations Cup winner was reportedly being tracked by Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs, but has instead ended up in the Cape Winelands and will bring a lot of international experience to coach Steve Barker’s squad.

He did not have his contract renewed by Mazembe and so joins Stellenbosch as a free agent, and will play alongside veteran Granwald Scott, who also joined the club this month.

It is a major show of ambition by Stellenbosch, who are owned by a company belonging to Johan Rupert, a man that certainly has the wealth to perform an intriguing overhaul of the team’s squad next season.

“Nathan is a massive addition to our squad, both from a playing point of view and for the profile of our team to attract a player of his ability” Barker tells TimesLIVE.

“We do trust that we will be a club that is able to attract players of his caliber on a more regular basis and our ambition down the line is not only to lay a good foundation for our stay in the PSL, but also to be challenging for honours at the top end of the table.

“Every transfer window we want to be improving our squad. Nathan is a massive signing for us and we are excited to have him on board.”

Sinkala is highly unlikely to have his work permit in time for Sunday’s away Absa Premiership clash at Black Leopards, but the club are hopeful that he may be available for the home Nedbank Cup clash with Maritzburg United on February 7.

“He only arrived in Cape Town (on Tuesday night), he spent two days in Pretoria dealing with work permit applications.

"I doubt he will have work permit for this weekend, but hopefully by our next fixture.

“We want to get him on the pitch as soon as possible, there will only be nine league games left after Leopards, so it is important he gets his paperwork as soon as possible.

Sinkala has also previously played on loan at Sochaux in France and Grasshoppers in Switzerland, but spent the last eight years at DR Congo giants Mazembe.

There he played a leading role in helping them win the CAF Champions League, two CAF Confederation Cup titles and three domestic league championships.

He was also part of the Zambia squad that lifted the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations title with their surprise victory over ivory Coast in the final.  

Stellenbosch have won their last three Absa Premiership matches to ease their relegation worries in what is their first season in the top-flight having won promotion quicker than anybody at the club expected.

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