Team of Choice desperate for points

2014-04-02 00:00

MARITZBURG United desperately need to come home with something to show for their efforts in tonight’s PSL date with SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria.

A win would obviously be massive, but even a draw would be a good result for the Team of Choice as points become increasingly crucial during the closing stages of the season.

A look at the league table would suggest that United [13th, 24 points] will be playing PSL football next season, but they are still hovering just above the precarious promotion/relegation play-off spot currently occupied by Polokwane City [15th, 20 points]. United do have a game in hand over Polokwane, and victory tonight would surely put an end to any relegation concerns.

Beaten 2-1 at Platinum Stars over the weekend, coach Steve Komphela has been encouraged by the recovery of his players since then. Striker Thokozani Sekotlong has recovered from the groin injury that he picked up against Stars, while Orlando Smeekes was also on the flight to Pretoria yesterday. Defender Mohamed Awal is also fully fit, and only centre back Robyn Johannes misses out.

Despite United’s loss to Stars — their third straight league fixture without a win — the positive remains Komphela’s ability to get goals out of his side.

Dangerous on the counter-attack with pace aplenty, it is at the back where United have been having their troubles under Komphela and Mario Booysen, whether partnered by his brother David or Awal, will be expected to put in a massive shift against his former club.

It is also an interesting night for United skipper Michael Morton. Rested against Stars, the central midfielder will be full of energy and eager to impress his future team-mates. Morton has signed a pre-contract with SuperSport and will be joining coach Cavin Johnson at the end of the season.

The Komphela reign has been encouraging so far, and with a bit of money to spend at the end of the season, there is reason for optimism at Harry Gwala next term. But making sure that they are around next season is the priority now, and a massive step towards safety could be taken tonight.

It is not the same story for Durban’s Golden Arrows, who go into tonight’s near impossible task against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs having lost their last five matches. Bottom of the log and seven points behind Polokwane with two games in hand, these are trying times for Abafana Bes’thende and they have to start gaining points at a rapid pace if they are to upset the odds and survive the drop. But with their next three fixtures being trips to Chiefs, Maritzburg and then Ajax Cape Town, points may remain difficult to come by for the Umlazi lads.

Tonight’s PSL fixtures (all 7.30 pm)

Kaizer Chiefs v Golden Arrows

Orlando Pirates v Black Aces

SuperSport United v Maritzburg United.

Maritzburg United captain Michael Morton will be playing against his future club in tonight’s PSL clash against SuperSport United.

PHOTO: gallo images

The dates and venues for the

quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup released yesterday

Saturday, April 12

3 pm - African Warriors v Maritzburg United,

Charles Mopeli Stadium

3 pm - Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United,

FNB Stadium

8.15 pm - Mamelodi Sundowns v Orlando

Pirates, Loftus Versfeld Stadium

Sunday, April 13

3 pm - Bloemfontein Celtic v Wits, Kaizer

Sebothelo Stadium.

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