Team of Choice’s Ghanaian youngster set to be a force in future

2012-11-01 00:00

HE may only be 18 years old, but Maritzburg United’s Ghanaian winger Frank Gyamfi is beginning to show signs that he will be a combative force for coach Ernst Middendorp this PSL season.

Given only his second start in United colours against Kaizer Chiefs in Friday’s 1-1 draw at Harry Gwala stadium, Gyamfi was a lively force on the right flank and while Chiefs leftback Keegan Ritchie appeared comfortable for most of the match, Gyamfi had the pace and skill on the ball to remain United’s most visible attacking threat on the night.

And the soft spoken West African is all too happy to have finally broken into the first side.

“I am feeling good,” he told The Witness yesterday. “I was a little shocked to start against Chiefs but I was happy to have the chance. The coach showed faith in me and the performance went well. Now there is no team that I can’t play against — I am ready.”

But as good as Gyamfi may have been against Chiefs and Moroka Swallows as a substitute the previous week, there is no guarantee that he will start tomorrow’s Telkom Knockout quarter-final against SuperSport United.

Mthokozisi Yende (suspension) and Orlando Smeekes (injury) are both set to be available for selection and will offer competition for a start ahead of their junior. With Pietermaritzburg’s own Philani Zulu also looking the part, Gyamfi is all too aware of the difficulties in securing a place in the match-day 11 for tomorrow.

“At Maritzburg we have a number of very good players who can play in many positions,” he said.

“But this is football and you just have to do what the coach tells you and keep playing your best.”

Speaking about tomorrow’s opponents, Gyamfi was in a positive frame of mind. “SuperSport are one of the toughest teams in the country, but I believe in my team-mates and I know that we can do it.”

United will look once more to their defensive five of goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters, rightback Peter Petersen, leftback Ruben Cloete and centrebacks Mohamed Awal and Mario Booysen to keep out the attacks.

It is a defensive line that has become familiar to United fans, shipping only seven goals in eight league fixtures and conceding just once in their last 210 minutes of football.

But if United are to avoid progressing, as they did against Swallows, via a penalty shootout, then they will need to find the back of the net. And they will hope dearly that striker Cuthbert Malajila rediscovers his goal scoring form.

The Zimbabwean international has not scored since a 2-2 league draw in Polokwane against Black Leopards on September 25, though his performances since then have not looked like those of a player out of form.

Gyamfi had kind words to say about United’s top scorer this season, who has three PSL goals to his name. “I’m very young so it has been great having guys like Cuthbert, [Delron] Buckley and [Peter] Petersen in the squad,” he said.

“They motivate me …”

Tomorrow night’s match kicks off at 8 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.

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