Nedbank Cup draw goes well for United, but all eyes remain on league

2014-03-28 00:00

YESTERDAY’S draw for the Nedbank Cup couldn’t have gone much better for Maritzburg United, as the Team of Choice were pitted against the only National First Division side left in the competition, African Warriors.

Earlier this week, United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters had joked that hosting Warriors would be the best possible outcome for the club, but instead they will have to travel to the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State.

While it would be inadvisable to take any side at this stage of the competition lightly, United and their coach Steve Komphela will surely fancy their chances of progressing to the semi-finals of the tournament.

But Komphela’s immediate attention is on tomorrow’s trip to Rustenburg and a PSL clash with the dangerous Platinum Stars.

“If we come back from that match with three points and we move further away from the relegation zone, then maybe we can afford to put more of our energy into the Cup,” Komphela said this week.

There is no doubt that PSL survival is far more of a priority than any other competition, but yesterday’s favourable outcome will surely get United fans and players thinking about the prospect of going the distance in the cup.

But for Walters, all eyes remain on the league at this stage.

“We are hoping that they [Stars] had a lot taken out of them when they played Sundowns in midweek,” United’s number one shot stopper said of tomorrow’s clash. “Bearing that in mind, they have just lost two games in a row so they will come out guns blazing. But I’m hoping that we can absorb the pressure and the longer the game goes without us conceding, the more of a chance we will have.”

Walters pointed to Stars’ 3-1 loss to Sundowns on Tuesday night and said that he expected a vastly different performance tomorrow.

“I think in that game they were responding too much to the way that Sundowns were playing and looking to hit them on the counter-attack, and that is not the way that Stars usually play,” he said. “I think that against us they will have more of a game plan and come out with more of an attacking mind-set.”

Turning his attention back to the cup, Walters said that it was important to avoid Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Sundowns.

“We have built up a good momentum in the cup and I think the guys are cup hungry,” he said. “We have had a little luck along the way but we have also shown a lot of fighting spirit and I think that is a positive thing going into any game.”

The tastiest fixture in the draw sees title chasers Sundowns host Orlando Pirates, while league champions Kaizer Chiefs host SuperSport United.


(dates to be confirmed)

Mamelodi Sundowns v Orlando Pirates

Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United

African Warriors v Maritzburg United

Bloemfontein Celtic v Wits.

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