Maritzburg United take away plenty of positives

2011-08-01 00:00

MARITZBURG United may have exited early in the inaugural Premier’s Cup that was won by Lamontville Golden Arrows in Umlazi’s King Zwelithini Stadium yesterday, but there were plenty of positives taken by coach Ian Palmer.

The Team of Choice lost 5-4 on penalties to Arrows after being tied in a stalemate (0-0) during regulation time in the day’s midday second semi-final.

Maritzburg’s new recruits, like defensive midfielder Michael Morton, versatile Wayne Matle and left back Thabang Matuka, were given a run and according to Palmer, they acquitted themselves very well.

“The tournament, as we engaged with a quality side like Golden Arrows, allowed me to work on our organisation because last season we conceded a number of goals. Now I know how far we have gone in terms of preparations,” said Palmer.

“Playing here has afforded me a chance to see how the new players fit in. With two weeks before the new season kicks off, we still have to fill in the slots like the central defence position and strike force,” he added.

The coach added they are keen to bring on board striker Phumelele “Ace’ Bhengu, the SA U23 international, who is a free agent.

Meanwhile, Arrows were crowned this year’s Premier Cup champions after beating AmaZulu 4-2 on penalties.

AmaZulu striker Ayanda Dlamini went from being a hero to a villain yesterday.

His second half strike against NFD outfit Thanda Royal Zulu in the morning clash set them up for the final against Golden Arrows.

But that good work was undone by his failure to convert a penalty which was stopped brilliantly by new Arrows goalie Virgil Vries during the penalty-shootout.

The lanky Namibian goalie also stopped Dumisani Zwane’s kick. Midfielder Nhlanhla Zothwane scored the winning penalty to send partisan Arrows fans into a frenzy.

As expected, Thanda coach Neil Tovey used several of his new recruits and expressed happiness at how things are shaping up at the Richards Bay side.

“I am quite surprised at how quickly things are looking up. To think we have not even touched on tactical and technical sides of things. I am happy with how things are shaping up here,” said Tovey.

The tournament was attended by the Premier Zweli Mkhize and MEC for Sports and Recreation Weziwe Thusi.

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