Msunduzi and MUFC Partnership and Team Launch 2014

Maritzburg United Chairman Farook Kadodia’s official address following the announcement of a three year partnership with the Msunduzi Municipality:

"I am extremely humbled by the gesture that has been demonstrated by Local Government by way of supporting football, a sport loved by so many people in our country.

Not only is it the number one sport in terms of following and money involved in it globally, but it serves as an important vehicle to drive social cohesion and unity in diversity. Unfortunately in modern football, it is a financial muscle that is required for a club to be able to be competitive and win silverware.

The benefits of having a football club in the City are huge, not only from the point of view of Local Economic Development and Tourism, or creating jobs and developing youth, but also enriching the social life of our people.

The Board of Directors at Maritzburg United Football Club have been able to sustain this club for 11 years without sponsorship. With the ever increasing costs of running a professional football club, every year it becomes more difficult to run it if you are without a major financial sponsor. Examples that can be made of this recently, are the cases of our neighbours from Durban, Lamontville Golden Arrows who were relegated last season after losing a sponsor, and Moroka Swallows who survived relegation after losing a sponsor as well.

This partnership with the City of Pietermaritzburg by far benefits the people of Msunduzi and the Midlands because it ensures that Maritzburg United remains in the Capital of the Province of KZN, The City of Choice, for the people of choice.

It is common knowledge that the club received a very good and tempting offer from Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality to relocate to the Eastern Cape. It is an indisputable fact that, every City longs very much to have a PSL club based within its borders. Cities that do not have, are missing out onall the economic benefits that football has to offer.

Whilst the opportunity to play out of World Class Facility as is the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, it was always going to be very difficult for us to decide to leave Pietermaritzburg. Our passion is with this City. We live here, we have businesses and families here.

This is why we are very grateful and overwhelmed with the move by Msunduzi Municipality in ensuring that we stay in the City of Choice. Last Friday, PCB hosted a breakfast with its members for the Club.

This gave us an opportunity to present to local business what opportunities are there for them to either partner or sponsor the club. We had a very positive meeting and we hope it was the beginning of a long term relationship. Gauteng is monopolising football in this country simply because they have huge financial support from the business sector.

Having said that, we have made every effort to build a formidable and competitive team. Over the years we have invested in quality players and Coaches. Obviously if you need even better quality players, you must have the financial muscle to acquire them.

There is a huge opportunity for business to partner with us in youth development. We have a dream of having a fully operational youth academy at some stage in the not too distant future, but that all boils down to financial support for us to realise this dream.

We currently have the under 19 Colts team, which serves as a feeder to the senior team and have the now annual Nashua Maritzburg United High Schools soccer tournament that we started two years ago.

We had 8 affiliated schools in the inaugural year, and that doubled to 16 last year. Among the players that have been signed with the senior team, one Bandile Shandu now plays for the National Under 20 side, and he comes from the Edendale Area. With a proper youth development structure in place, we can produce many such players who would have learnt important skills at an early age to fit into modern football.

We finished the last PSL season 10th on the log, and we featured in the Semi Finals of the Nedbank Cup which was hosted here in Pietermaritzburg. That means that with the right infrastructure and resources we can achieve much better than that. This is why it is important that we work together with government and business to build these resources and infrastructure in order for us to achieve more and sustain the club for the people of Maritzburg and the Midlands.

The upcoming PSL season gets underway on Friday night and see’s us up against Defending League Champions Mamelodi Sundowns in Tshwane, not an easy start by any means!

We have seen many players leave the Club at the end of last season and have seen a number of exciting new players being identified and recruited. I must commend the work of the Technical Staff, led by Head Coach Steve Komphela, during the off season, in ensuring that whilst we have many new faces at the Club, we still maintain our competitive edge and build on what was achieved in the last 6 months of last season.

To our associate partners, I would like to thank you for your continued support and to the Fans, I trust that you are as excited for the upcoming season as we are."

5 August 2014