United midfielder frustrated by injury

2013-11-06 00:00

MARITZBURG United have not had any luck with injuries this season, and midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi has had the worst of it.

Vilakazi, who has had to watch his new team from the sidelines this entire season, hopes to be fit and ready to face his former club Ajax Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium in December, just three days after taking on potential African champions Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala.

The 26-year-old midfielder, who is capped at international under-23 level, admitted to The Witness yesterday that the injury to his knee he suffered in a pre-season friendly game against Thanda Royal Zulu had left him frustrated at times.

“Seeing the guys playing, as much as it is a profession that pays a salary, it’s not all about that, and I want to be out there playing with them. It can be frustrating. But, I have to be strong,” Vilakazi said yesterday afternoon.

Vilakazi had to have a screw inserted into his knee, and now that it has been removed, he is confident that he is on the home straight on his road to recovery.

During this trying time, the former Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns youth player said he’s been drawing strength from the encouragement of his team-mates.

“They’re there for me. They’ve been checking up on me and encouraging me. I can’t wait to be fit and playing again.”

The Team of Choice have been experiencing an injury crisis so far this season. Ashley Hartog, who has also spent some time on the treatment table, made his comeback on Sunday with Peter Petersen, while Ruben Cloete resumed training and Robyn Johannes is also expected back from his brief injury.

Vilakazi said David Booysen, who has missed as much football as he has, has been helpful as the two of them have been encouraging each other to keep working hard.

Looking at how the team had performed so far this season, Vilakazi said the results hadn’t been bad — United find themselves seventh on the log after nine games — and they were on course to achieve their objectives for the season.

“The build-up has been going well and if we carry on, we’ll be on the right track,” he said.

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