‘Respect The Team of Choice,’ Komphela to Ajax ahead of PSL clash

2014-11-21 00:00

AJAX Cape Town would be making a grave mistake should they not treat tomorrow night’s PSL clash against Maritzburg United with respect.

That is the view of Team of Choice head coach Steve ­Komphela as his side look to leapfrog the Urban Warriors and move into the top three on the league table.

United are sitting in fourth position a third of the way into the season and are a single point and position behind Ajax.

“We have earned respect,” Komphela told The Witness yesterday. “We respect everybody we play against, and as a result we perform very well. We’ll go to Ajax without any fear and we will give them the respect they deserve. If they choose not to

respect us they will do so at their own peril.”

It would be easy for a coach of a high-flying PSL team to ­lament a two-week break in league fixtures. It can halt ­momentum, and give the rest of the sides a chance to recuperate. But Komphela views such instances ­differently.

“We will use any such break as an opportunity to coach,” he said. “It gives us a chance to keep working and to keep improving, and that is what we have done.”

United lost two players to international duty in their centre back pairing of Kwanda Mngonyama (South Africa) and Mohammed Awal (Ghana), but neither player featured in either of the two rounds of Afcon qualifying over the last week.

Still, Komphela will need to monitor their condition before making a call on whether or not they will feature against Ajax.

“It is about more than just the fitness. We will have to look at what frame of mind they have come back in and then make a decision,” the coach said ­

of the defensive duo, ­

who were both due back in Maritzburg yesterday.

“We have players who have been training with us all week who can also play.”

John Paintsil has been enjoying a run at centre back for United, while David Booysen is another option should Awal or Mngonyama be unavailable.

Maritzburg are still waiting for Mohau Mokate, Deolin Mekoa and Sheldon van Wyk to get back to full match fitness after long injury layoffs while Sibusiso Kumalo remains side-lined following knee surgery. Everyone else in the United squad is available.

United delivered their standout performance of the season the last time they were on the road when they walloped Gordon Igesund’s SuperSport United 4-1 on October 22.

That result, according to Komphela, should motivate Maritzburg ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Cape Town ­Stadium.

“You would think that it would,” he said. “It shows us we can score goals away from home, and if we can do that then we are guaranteed to win if we get our defence right. But Ajax are a different team altogether.”

Roger de Sa’s side have surprised many this season with their league form, but not Komphela.

“I have not been surprised. Their coach is a clever guy who believes in young talent,” Komphela said.

“They have a lot of options and are a team who can give you problems on any given day.”

Kick-off is at 8.15 pm and the match will be televised on ­SuperSport Four.

MARITZBURG’S LAST FIVE

Nov 5: Maritzburg 0-0 Bloem Celtic

Oct 22: SuperSport 1-4 Maritzburg

Oct 18: Maritzburg 3-1 Platinum Stars

Sep 27: Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 Maritzburg

Sep 13: Maritzburg 0-0 Black Aces.

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