Uthongathi FC head coach Johnny Ferreira has confirmed the signing of two top players for the KwaZulu-Natal club.
Senegalese defensive midfielder Issa Sarr, once of Orlando Pirates fame, and former Free State Stars goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare from Ivory Coast have been handed contracts at the GladAfrica Championship side.
"We've got two big fishes here now," an excited Ferreira tells KickOff.com.
"Well, we have Free State Stars goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare. He was the second-choice goalkeeper for Ivory Coast during the AFCON, very, very experienced goalkeeper, I've watched him a lot, I never knew he was so good. When I saw him at Free State Stars, he looked just better than normal, just better than average you know.
"Now I've seen him in action, I'm very impressed with him. Very impressed. Big, strong, commands the area well, communicates well, distributes the ball well with his feet and with his hands, but he won't be with us this week because of paperwork and things like that.
"Why he would choose Uthongathi? I'm going to tell you, our goalkeeper coach is from Ivory Coast. Oliver persuaded him that this club is going places and convinced him to come down to Uthongathi. When you consider that our resources are limited, they are not as big as some of the other clubs in the National First Division or PSL.
"So I'm very impressed he's made that decision, which makes us believe that finishing in position five last season, made a lot of people to look up and take notice. You know if we finished in position 13 or 12, I wonder if any player would look at coming to us you know. So it's a major feather in our cap that a player like Sangare has chosen Uthongathi.
"The other one Issa Sarr, he is a superstar man. He was at Pirates and in his last year he didn't play much, trying to find a club, trying to get his clearance papers from Orlando Pirates... but he's another player with a huge reputation, and once we opened negotiations with Issa it was within a space of maybe 24 hours and he was ready to come on board with us you know.
"Ja those are big names. Sangare, Issa Sarr are big names for a small club like Uthongathi. But it shows you going back to that position five last season how much of an impression it made on a lot of people unbeknown to us. I've never spoken to Issa Sarr or Sangare in my life and suddenly... it's not like I've been trying to get hold of them. They look at the log table, they look at the way we play, the philosophy we've implemented now at Uthongathi.
"Issa Sarr might be eligible for this weekend, I don't know but he has his registration card. The goalkeeper he is still waiting for one or two papers, work permits or something like that you know. There's a very, very good chance that Issa Sarr might play. We are looking forward to his experience and professional attitude."
Ferreira says he does not know the length of the contracts the players have signed with the club.