Mashishi – it will be tough to stop Stars

2008-10-23 00:00

MARITZBURG United can expect to be run at when they meet Free State Stars in the first round of the Telkom Knockout at Charles Mopeli Stadium in QwaQwa tomorrow.

The size and strength of Stars’ strikers — squat, muscular Diyo Sibisi and lanky, awkward Sthembiso Ngcobo — is a pointer to the direct and physical approach the Free Staters like to employ.

“Of all the teams in the PSL, Stars play closest to the way a first division side plays,” United right-back Tshepo Mashishi said yesterday. “They are a hard-running team and throw themselves into every tackle, especially when they play at home.”

Mashishi should know a thing or two about Stars — he captained Thanda Royal Zulu in both their league games against the Free Staters last season and the Durban side did well, winning 2-0 at home and drawing 2-2 away.

The right-back is reluctant to say why he left Thanda in the off-season. “I don’t want to dwell on what happened between me and my former team … now I am focusing on my career at my new team.”

Mashishi, originally from Johannesburg, is in his second stint in Pietermaritzburg, having been part of the famous Maritzburg City First Division team in the early part of the decade when he was on loan from Kaizer Chiefs. He went on to Hellenic, from where he was sold twice when the franchise for that club went first to Benoni Premier United and then to Thanda.

“Of all the teams I have played for, Maritzburg City is up there with Benoni Premier United … Pietermaritzburg is a good city for football because it’s quiet and you can focus on the game. The people are friendly and the supporters are great,” Mashishi said.

The defender says United will hope to continue their four-match unbeaten start to the season against Stars tomorrow.

“We have started well, but we have to make sure we go into each game with humility …

“The coach has made it clear to us that even if we do lose, if we have played well and lost with dignity then that is also OK.

“Right now we are concentrating on the cup game on Saturday, though we also know that we have a huge league game against the champions [SuperSport United] in Pretoria on

Wednesday …”

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