Team of Choice aim to impress against Birds

2014-11-26 00:00

MARITZBURG United return to Harry Gwala Stadium ­tonight, where they are ­undefeated all season, for a PSL clash against league strugglers Moroka Swallows.

As impressive as United have been under coach Steve Komphela in 2014/15, they go into tonight coming off back-to-back goalless draws against first Bloemfontein Celtic and then Ajax Cape Town. Both of those results were credible. The match against Celtic on November 5 was as physical as they come, while against Ajax at the weekend, United met a side that has drastically improved their tactics under Roger de Sa. Still, the United faithful will expect their side to rediscover the goal scoring form that earned impressive victories over Platinum Stars (3-1) and SuperSport United (4-1) in the weeks before the two recent stalemates.

That strikers Terrance Mandaza and Mohammed Anas have scored just two goals each all season will be of concern to Maritzburg, and midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi says that he is expecting more from the side’s attacking duo.

“They can definitely still score more, but it is up to us to also provide them with the chances,” Vilakazi told The Witness yesterday. “That we haven’t scored in our last two is a big concern. But sometimes you get a bit of luck in front of goal and sometimes you don’t. Hopefully on Wednesday night [tonight] it works in our favour.”

Vilakazi revealed that finishing and movement in the final third had been prominent features of Komphela’s training regime this week.

Turning his attention to United’s impressive form at home, the central midfielder was full of praise for the Maritzburg crowd who have taken the Harry Gwala capacity to over 6 000 at times.

“We are gelling well,” said Vilakazi. “You can see that we have a different kind of energy at home and that is because of the support of the home crowd.”

On his own game, Vilakazi said that he was enjoying his run in the first team and that he was desperate for another strong performance tonight.

“I have been working hard and it has paid off,” he said.

United go into the match without suspended centre back David Booysen, who was sent off in the draw against Ajax. Ghana’s Mohammed Awal, John Paintsil and Kwanda Mngo-

mama — who was once again called up to Shakes Mashaba’s Bafana Bafana squad for the end of month friendly against Ivory Coast — will battle it out for the two centre back positions.

Swallows have had a woeful start to the season and currently find themselves second from the bottom. They were stunned at the weekend after letting a two-goal lead slip to eventually fall 3-2 to Tuks, and Komphela has warned that that result could make tonight’s match tougher.

“It might also be a springboard for them,” Komphela told the club’s official website.

“Make no mistake, they have lots of individual quality players. It’s going to be difficult, but we have to look at ourselves and perform the way we have been for the last 11 matches.”

The match starts at 7.30 pm and will not be televised.

Tonight’s fixtures

(All 7.30 pm)

Tuks v Orlando Pirates

Ajax Cape Town v Bloem Celtic

Black Aces v Wits

Maritzburg Utd v Moroka

Swallows

Chippa United v Free State Stars

Last night’s results

Polokwane City 0 - 0 Kaizer Chiefs

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