RONNIE Kanalelo has left Black Africa for a lucrative deal in the South African premiership at Maritzburg United, on the eve of his club’s Cup final match against Eleven Arrows in Windhoek.
Kanalelo, who has charges pending against him at the Katutura Police Station following his gun-toting scene late last year, joined United’s technical department last Saturday.
This is the second time Kanalelo has left Black Africa mid-season, only that this time he had the blessings of his club.
“He left with our full blessings because he is going for greener pastures in a more professional set-up,” said Black Africa chairperson Kandas Paulino.
In 2006/7 season, Kanalelo quit the club after a string of poor results which led to the acrimony that existed between him and the club’s fans.
“Obviously we needed to boost our structures especially the defense part of it starting with the goalkeeping department,” United PRO Brian Zuma told Informante yesterday.
Kanalelo, who quit the Brave Warriors’ technical team late last year, recently faced a fall out with a faction of Black Africa fans following a series of mixed results, but managed to rejuvenate the team in its last three games, which left BA three points away from a top four position
They beat Wesbank Tigers 1-0 and dispatched African Stars by a similar margin over the Christmas holidays to secure a Cup final place against Eleven Arrows. In his last premiership match in charge, Kanalelo won 6-2 over Tigers.
He is said to have recommended former Friends coach, Sign Nhunge to take charge of the team, whom he worked together with in the last three games.
Kanalelo’s deal with United is expected to be announced sometime this week. Besides rejoining fellow Namibian Athiel Mbaha Kanalelo reunites with his former boss and South Africa’s most successful coach Gordon Igesund with whom the last met at Mamelodi Sundowns.
Leading top goal-scorer in the league, Jerome Louis will give Nhunge much respite and will seek to continue his fine form.
Arrows, mentored by Cup King veteran Gilbert Rwazoka - the Zimbabwean gaffer who took African Stars into four Cup finals in his three years in Windhoek - will be looking up to the Katupose twins, Muna and Tara, who scored the three goals that landed Arrows in the finals after defeating Oshakati City over the holidays.
Arrows forwards - Muna, Tara and attacking midfielder Sebastian Matende - have scored nine goals between them in the last three games including the 6-1 drubbing of Chief Santos, where Tara leads the team’s goals tally.
The tournament is sponsored by FNB and is played by the five teams the bank backs where the winner walks away with a meager N$10,000.
Black Africa lost 2-1 to Arrows in a premier league encounter this term in Walvis Bay, but should be able to count on some home support to tilt the tide.
A Sports Journalists Media Team will play a curtain-raiser match against FNB Select before the Cup Final kick-off.