Could this be the year that United please the long-suffering fans?

2012-09-07 00:00

THEY may be flying high and sitting second on the PSL log after three rounds of fixtures, but Maritzburg United assistant coach Fadlu Davids has reminded his players that they have “achieved nothing” ahead of next Friday’s clash with Free State Stars at Harry Gwala stadium.

Davids, who retired from professional football last season to join Ernst Middendorp and his coaching team, has urged the squad not to get complacent after a draw and two wins has seen the Team of Choice behind only Kaizer Chiefs on the log on goal difference.

“There is a good feeling in the camp and we have had a very good start to the season,” the club’s leading goal- scorer of all time told The Witness yesterday. “But we need to keep our feet on the ground and quietly go about our business picking up points.”

United have started their campaign in much the same way they started last season’s, when a run of seven undefeated games under then coach Ian Palmer saw them rise to third on the table. A 7-0 thrashing at the hands of SuperSport United then ignited a winless streak that would see Maritzburg slip down the log at a rate of knots and ultimately cost Palmer his job.

But according to Davids, the depth and experience in the United camp this season is reason enough to believe that Middendorp will avoid a similar fate.

“We have the likes of Delron [Buckley], Terrance [Mandaza], Ruben [Cloete] and [Mthokozisi] Yende who have been around and done it all before,” he said.

“They bring … experience for us in vital positions.”

Buckley has been influential in United’s victories over Amazulu and Sundowns, creating a goal in the former and scoring two in the latter.

Davids highlighted the use of Ryan de Jongh in a defensive midfield role in the 2-1 win away to the Brazilians as being indicative of United’s new-found depth.

“We have a smaller squad this season, but we can call on any of our players at any time,” he said. “There is a belief among the players that they will be given their chance.”

With next Friday’s home fixture against Free State followed by a trip to Black Leopards in Polokwane, United fans will hope to see more points collected. “We look to win whenever we are playing at home, but Free State Stars have been a historically difficult fixture,” said Davids.

“We are not expecting an easy game and it will be a good test for us.”

Fortunately for United and their small squad, there are no serious injuries to speak of and everybody remains available.

And with Middendorp’s defensive discipline and fluid counterattacks providing the encouraging signs that they have so far this season, one wonders if this could finally be the year that Maritzburg United give their fans something to shout about.

• sport@witness.co.za

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