Kaizer Chiefs will parade their new-look side when they tackle European giants Manchester United in the opening match of the Vodacom Challenge at Newlands, Cape Town, on July 19.
Amakhosi coach Muhsin Ertugral has been busy beefing up his squad for the Premier Soccer League and said he could not have asked for a better way to kick-off the season and blood new players than against United.
”It is a huge honour getting a chance to play against a massive team like Manchester United. The whole club is buzzing with anticipation. I have a number of new players we signed in the off-season which I intend giving a chance to show their qualities against a side that have won both the highly competitive English Premiership and the biggest club prize of all — the European Champions League,” said Ertugral.
Burundi captain Valery Nahayo joins the team from relegated Jomo Cosmos and central defenders Gordon Gilbert and Thabang Rooi arrive from first division Mpumalanga Black Aces.
”Both players impressed me when they played against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup final. I reckon both are bright prospects,â€ said Ertugral.
Aces put up a brilliant performance against the highly rated Sundowns, despite losing 1-0 in the final played at the Johannesburg Stadium on May 24.
Also in the Chiefs fold is another budding star from Cosmos, Reneilwe Letsholonyane.
”I was delighted in signing Letsholonyane who I believe will be an outstanding signing,” said Ertugral.
Amakhosi also have Venezuela international striker Jose Torrealba ready to make his debut.
The Turkish-born coach has also signed striker Scara Mthembu, whom he believes will be a future star.
”I saw him and liked what I saw. He could in time become a top-class asset,” said Ertugral.
But the coach is still on the lookout for more new blood.
”I need another striker to and an offensive left sided player. I have my eye on those players. The chairman [Kaizer Motaung] is busy negotiating with them and hopefully we will be able to make an announcement in the next week or so.”
Chiefs were keen to sign striker Bernard Parker from Thanda Royal Zulu, but were told he was not available.
He was also keen on SuperSport United defender Siboniso Gaxa but Sundowns beat them to the punch.
”Sundowns are spreading their money wide and it is difficult to compete but there are other players we have our eyes on.”
Orlando Pirates denied they had any interest in Gaxa.
Bucs play United at Durban’s Absa Stadium on July 22 and then play Chiefs in Port Elizabeth at the EPRU Stadium on July 24. The winner will face the English and European champions in the final at Loftus on July 26. – Sapa