Everything to prove for United, AmaZulu

2015-02-28 00:00

IT is a big weekend for KwaZulu-Natal’s two PSL franchises.

Maritzburg United host Free State Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium tonight looking to get their season back on track, while AmaZulu simply have to get something out of their visit to SuperSport United tomorrow if they are to put up a fight against relegation.

The Team of Choice have not won in seven matches, were last victorious at home against Platinum Stars in ­October and have slipped down to ninth on the league table.

Coach Steve Komphela spoke this week of his intentions to approach tonight’s game with a carefree attitude that prioritises attack above defence, and their desire for goals suggests that there could be fireworks in the ­Midlands tonight.

The major blow for the home side is that they go into the match without captain and regular central midfielder Ashley Hartog, who faces around three games out as he continues to recover from a torn meniscus.

Komphela acknowledged that he was disadvantaged without Hartog, but encouraged the players who were fit to stand up and be counted. “He has been a big player for us. In the last game he played [against Chippa] I had used him behind the strikers and that was a plan that I was going to work on, but then he got injured,” Komphela said of the 32-year-old Hartog.

“We wish him a speedy recovery and the best thing for him now is to get back to playing, but in the meantime this is an opportunity for these guys to step up and show what they are about.”

Komphela suggested to Weekend Witness that the central midfield responsibility was likely to fall on the shoulders of Nhlanhla Vilakazi and ­Thami Mkhize, who have enjoyed ­successful seasons so far.

Of course, it all depends on how Komphela sets up. If he plays two strikers — Mohammed Anas and Terrance Mandaza — then there will only be room for two central midfielders.

But if he opts for a lone striker, then the prospect of an advanced third ­central midfielder exists in the number 10 role. Kurt Lentjies is a name that ­immediately comes to mind when thinking of playmakers within the side, and how Komphela chooses to use one of his most naturally gifted players will once again be watched closely.

The only other availability concern for United is that of Ryan de Jongh, who misses out through suspension.

Tonight’s match kicks off at 8.15 pm and will be televised on SuperSport 4.

The tale further down the N3 is far gloomier as AmaZulu look more certain to drop down to the National First Division with each passing week. They ­travel to high-flying SuperSport United tomorrow afternoon. The club was dealt another tough blow this week with the news that captain Carlington Nyadombo had been suspended until the end of the season.

PSL fixtures


3.30 pm - University of Pretoria v Black Aces

6 pm - Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City

8.15 pm - Maritzburg Utd v Free State Stars


3.30 pm - SuperSport Utd v AmaZulu, Bloem Celtic v Platinum Stars.

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