‘Don’t underrate Leopards’

2011-09-24 00:00

PSL action resumes for Maritzburg United this afternoon with a tricky trip to the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane where they take on Black Leopards.

The team left for the Limpopo yesterday in an optimistic mood for their sixth league game of the season, after avoiding defeat in all of their first five.

Victory over Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows as well as credible draws away to Ajax Cape Town and Bloemfontein Celtic suggest that United enter today’s match against the newly promoted Leopards as favourites.

The PSL is an unpredictable league, though, and Leopards proved in their last league encounter that they belong in the top flight by coming back from two goals down to draw away at Platinum Stars.

United head coach Ian Palmer has made reference to that match, and warned his players not to become complacent.

“They [Leopards] fought hard and showed a lot of character in that game so it will not be easy,” he said. “But we are going there, as we do for all of our away games, to try and take the three points.”

It remains to be seen how long United, occupying fifth position on the PSL log ahead of Orlando Pirates, can stay in the same bracket as the country’s top clubs.

They have a golden opportunity to consolidate their position in the top half of the table today. With a home match against Platinum Stars set for Wednesday night, a realistic chance exists for United to claim two wins in five days.

United are largely at full fitness, though winger Sheldon Lawrence has not made the trip to Polokwane as he recovers from whiplash.

Striker Fadlu Davids, who is recovering from a fractured cheek bone, is also out, but is expected to return to fitness in time for Wednesday.

Lawrence will be replaced by Renaldo Donnelly, who is yet to make a league appearance this season.

Elsewhere, little movement is expected in a team that has started to take shape under Palmer. A man-of-the-match performance from left back Rheece Evans against Arrows last weekend should be enough for him to retain his place alongside Mor Diouf, Byrone Hendricks and Peter Petersen in the back four.

Diyo Sibisi is expected to start as a lone striker with Prince Olomu playing behind him. Felix Obada will be one of the wide players along with either Donnelly or JB Ncubeni, while Kurt Lentjies is set to be partnered by either Chillies Madondo or Michael Morton in central midfield.

It was reported yesterday that United has secured the services of Nigerian striker Olukolade Abobade on a two-year contract in time for him to be a part of today’s game, but club chairperson Farouk Kadodia has dismissed the reports as incorrect.

“He [Abobade] is in the process of joining us; we hope for the registration to be completed by Wednesday,” said Kadodia. “He will not be a part of the squad for Saturday’s game.”

The match kicks off at 3 pm and will not be televised.

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