Smeekes a doubt for Stars clash

2014-03-27 00:00

MARITZBURG United go into this Saturday’s PSL clash against Platinum Stars in Rustenburg sweating over the fitness of their in-form player Orlando Smeekes, who was taken off in last weekend’s Nedbank Cup win over the same opposition with a hamstring strain.

Ghanaian centre back Mohamed Awal was also substituted in that match with a knock to the knee, and the availability of the pair for this weekend’s match will only be known by the club tomorrow.

While coach Steve Komphela, being his usual diplomatic self, said yesterday that the fitness of all his players was of equal importance, he will surely be more concerned with Smeekes making a recovery to continue the good form that he has shown in recent weeks.

The 32-year-old Dutchman has used his pace to immeasurable effect down the left flank in recent weeks, while Awal has battled to break into Komphela’s starting 11.

“They are both still in the treatment room and we hope that they will be ready by Friday [tomorrow],” Komphela told The Witness from the school’s Carter High training complex yesterday. “He [Smeekes] has contributed very well and we will obviously be watching him closely because he has been on the field a lot for us. Our medics are working on him, and we will see how the next day or two goes.”

United’s triumph over Stars on Saturday sent them into today’s draw for the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup, but the league and PSL survival remain the priority for Komphela and his charges.

“What happened on Saturday is gone. We need to focus on this one now,” added Komphela. “We have analysed and identified the problem areas, and we are giving them attention.”

United could have shipped more than the one goal against Stars on Saturday, and this is an area where Komphela — whose side has found the back of the net in all nine matches since he took over in January — seems puzzled. “As much as we’re trying to score, we are being too generous and giving away goals,” he said. “This is a side that never used to concede, so I don’t know what is happening. If we can stop conceding then we will surely win if we are scoring in every game.”

United will have had a full week to prepare for Saturday’s match after squeezing in four games in 11 days.

“That is also a good thing and it gives us the chance to rebuild the energy, because after that we have another hectic period where we are playing matches every few days,” said the coach.

Turning his attention to Stars, Komphela praised the work done by coach Alan Freese in turning the outfit into one of the most respected franchises in the country.

“From afar you see unity when you look at their squad. You can either have a conflict within or you can stay together and direct that conflict towards those on the outside,” he said. “That is what they have done, and that is they type of environment that we have created here. It is us against them.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium at 3.30 pm and will be televised on SABC 1.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.