Maritzburg United have entered into a partnership with German Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld. The co-operation agreement between the clubs will allow them to exchange training knowledge and ideas pertaining to youth development.
It may also pave the way for up and coming stars from South Africa to get opportunities in Germany.
A number of former South African stars including Delron Buckley, Rowen Fernandez, Siyabonga Nkosi and Sibusiso Zuma all previously played for Bielefeld.
Current Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp who is currently in his fourth spell in charge of the Team of Choice also previously coached Bielefeld three times.
Maritzburg United Chairman Farook Kadodia is excited by the fact that his side are forming a partnership with an established German team.
“Bielefeld have a rich history in German football and this will create new opportunities for our club. The agreement will bring benefits to the club and the city of Pietermaritzburg. It presents a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, ideas and resources with an international club, demonstrating our commitment to drive our brand to the next level,” said Kadodia.
South African footballers have found it tough to secure contracts in top European leagues in recent years but Kadodia believes that the new partnership can help change that.
“This will reinforce the quality and the talent pool present in this province which has produced some of the best players. The relationship will create more opportunities for talented players to showcase their talent abroad,” added Kadodia.
Meanwhile, Bielefeld vice-president Maurice Eschweiler believes that the partnership can help bring joy to a lot of people.
“This cooperation is the first step towards connecting Arminia Bielefeld internationally with people who love football. Despite the great distance and the difficult situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been able to make a lot of difference with various campaigns and bring a lot of joy to the children and young people of South Africa by training young talents and coaches in the football mad country,” said Eschweiler.
Both Maritzburg United and Arminia find themselves battling relegation this season. The Team of Choice are currently just two points clear of the drop zone in the DSTV Premiership.
Arminia also find themselves two points clear of the drop zone in Germany.
The Team of Choice will start the second half of their season with a tough home clash against SuperSport United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday, 9 February.