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Baloyi: Ex-Kaizer Chiefs star headlines Maritzburg United’s new signings

07:28 WAT 25/01/2022
Lucky Baloyi of Bloemfontein Celtic, October 2019
The Team of Choice beefed up their squad as they prepare to fight to maintain their Premier Soccer League status

Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Lucky Baloyi has joined Maritzburg United as the KwaZulu-Natal side made five new January signings.

Baloyi was announced as a Team of Choice addition together with Zimbabwean forward Tawanda Macheke, Genino Palace, Steven Pereira and Friday Samu from Zambian side Buffaloes.

Macheke is coming from Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League side Black Rhinos, while Genino joins the Team of Choice, having previously turned out for Academica De Coimbra, Sacavenense, and SC Braga in Portugal.

Cape Verde defender Pereira arrived in KwaZulu-Natal from Portuguese second-tier side UD Oliveirense.

Capped five times by Cape Verde, Pereira has, however, been omitted from the squad doing duty at the current Africa Cup of Nations finals.

But it is Baloyi who headlines Maritzburg’s signings as the midfielder struggled for game time at Royal AM where he made just one league appearance this season.

“I am so excited to have joined Maritzburg United and everyone at the club have been so welcoming and supportive towards me ever since I arrived,” Baloyi told the club's media.

“I’ll do my best to contribute to the team and help us achieve our goals for the remainder of the season. I am looking forward to using this opportunity to help the club in any possible way. It feels great to be here.”

Macheke and Samu come in as replacements for Bongokuhle Hlongwane who recently joined Major League Soccer side Minnesota United.

Coach Ernst Middendorp’s side is fighting to stay safe as they are placed 13th on the PSL standings with 15 points from 18 games.

They are just two points better off than basement side Baroka FC who have a game in hand.

Middendorp is satisfied with the transfer business they have done during the current transfer window.

“Palace has made the progress we were expecting whilst training with the club. We now need to work on his match fitness and hopefully, it doesn't take too long,” said Middendorp.

“Macheke made a good statement since his arrival. He is a forward player who has shown intelligence in game situations. He is hungry, determined to succeed, and hopefully, he will be able to assist us to turn our scoring opportunities into goals.

“Steven is a Cape Verde national team player who is a centre-back with a very strong athletic personality, educated in the Netherlands. Steven suffered an Achilles tendon injury but is now fully recovered.

“Lucky Baloyi is well-known in South Africa. He is an experienced player with a very professional attitude. He has been the captain in the final years of Bloemfontein Celtic. "

Samu arrives at Maritzburg leaving the Zambian Super League where he was the top goal-scorer after netting 14 goals, including five in a single match against Indeni in October.

“Samu is coming from a team that consistently competes in Caf competitions and we are excited to have him,” added Middendorp.

“He's been scoring goals in Zambia, and we believe that he will be one of the solutions to our issues of struggling with finishing. I am convinced that all the players will have a crucial productive input for us in the remaining matches of the season.”