Johannesburg - "A major blow," was how SuperSport United's administrative manager Jose Ferreira on Tuesday described the injury their new signing Sibusiso Zuma.
A pre-season Achilles tendon injury could keep the former Bafana Bafana icon out of soccer for six months.
Before playing a single official game for the three-times former PSL champions, Zuma ruptured his Achilles tendon at a training session last week and required surgery in a continuation of the jinx which has blighted him in the latter years of his career.
The 36 year-old, 67-times international capped striker or midfielder, made a striking comeback with Cape Town club Vasco da Gama last season when he was again rated one of the outstanding players in the PSL.
It was this form which prompted SuperSport to sign a player who, in 2001, was voted into 29th place in Fifa's "World Footballer of the Year" rankings after helping Kobenhavn FC to the Danish League title.
"We viewed the rejuvenated Zuma as a vital cog in our plans to regain the Premier League title," said Ferreira.
"His freak injury is not only a cruel blow for the player, but also a major setback for SuperSport."
Ferreira declined to reveal the length of the contract signed between Zuma and SuperSport - but the player, who was the highest-priced South African footballer in the PSL when he joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2008 on what was largely an ill-fated two-year tenure, could not have come cheaply.
And SuperSport will be hoping that they ultimately reap more benefit from the signing of Zuma than Sundowns received from their exorbitant outlay for the player who suffered a string of injuries while with the club.