Arwuah: United are fired up after long wait

2008-06-19 00:00

PHOTO: MARK WING

IT has been a tough two months for Maritzburg United, but at yesterday’s training session at Woodburn Stadium outer fields, the mood had clearly lifted considerably as United look forward to next week’s National First Division play-off final against FC AK.

The play-off final was suspended for the past six weeks while the Premier Soccer League concluded its bribery and corruption case against FC AK.

Tuesday’s arbitration verdict upheld AK’s guilty verdict but did not deduct points, allowing the Inland Stream winners to retain their place in the NFD final.

The news that the final will be played on Wednesday and Sunday next week has lifted the mood of the Maritzburg United players, says captain John Arwuah.

“It’s been a very long wait and very frustrating. It was very tough having to train and train without knowing when you are going to play,” Arwuah said last night.

“Because everyone in this team is itching to play in the PSL, and we have been in sight of that goal for so long now, without being able to go out and fight for it. Now that we have a date, we are all very motivated.”

United have attempted to keep their match sharpness by playing countless friendlies against Vodacom Second Division and Castle Third Division sides.

While these games could never recreate a competitive match situation, Arwuah says they have had their benefits.

“The games against the Castle League sides have really helped our confidence in goalscoring. In the last one we scored 10 goals. They have also allowed us to work on our pressing, shifting and counter-attacking.

“If you look at a player like Fadlu [Davids], he is our top scorer and our main man and we need him to be sharp. When we were not playing it was affecting his game, but the friendlies have really helped him and in the last game he scored five.”

Arwuah said United are fired up to go out and beat FC AK.

“We know as a team that this is probably our last opportunity to reach the PSL. We cannot lose and go through to the other play-offs, because that will be a very difficult route.

“We also know FC AK must feel the same way, and it will be no walkover. They have good players so it’s going to be a tough game, and it will take a lot of sweat and fight.”

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