United stay focused despite the heat

2013-11-07 00:00

THE absolutely sweltering conditions in Pietermaritzburg over the last two days have not hindered Maritzburg United’s preparations ahead of the league game against Platinum Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium tomorrow.

The thermometer peaked at 36Ëš Celsius on Tuesday, and 38Ëš Celsius yesterday as summer made an announcement that it was back.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday afternoon, Team of Choice coach Clinton Larsen said they had to tweak how they trained in the heat.

“We have to be sensible as to how we train the team, and for how long. We have to make the sessions shorter, and make sure that the players remain hydrated,” said Larsen.

“I tend to keep sessions short, because it can be very taxing training in this weather,” the coach said.

With a game coming up against Platinum Stars tomorrow, Larsen said the weather hadn’t slowed down their preparations, adding that there was a good spirit amongst his players.

“It’s very good in that players want to train and they don’t make excuses about the heat, and that’s a good attitude to have towards a coach.”

Dikwena, who claimed this season’s first bit of silverware by defeating Orlando Pirates in the final of the MTN8, are the team of the moment following their thorough 3-0 spanking of title chasers SuperSport United on Sunday.

Allan Freese’s team are also proving this term that last season, where they finished a mere point behind league winners Kaizer Chiefs, was no fluke.

Stars have been beaten just twice — by Soweto clubs Chiefs and Moroka Swallows — in all competitions this season, and have claimed the scalps of Pretoria giants Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport.

But, Larsen said the Rustenburg team’s form was not what he was concentrating on.

“As a coach, I don’t look at other team’s reaults because each game is different. What I do look at is how certain players are playing, and how teams are structured. That is what we look at in terms of studying other teams,” Larsen said.

The injury-stricken United received some good news with fullback Ruben Cloete resuming training on Tuesday following a fracture to his cheekbone he suffered when they were beaten 2-0 by Dikwena in the Telkom Knock-out a month ago.

“He’s started training, but is not yet involved in full contact. He is doing all the passing drills, but isn’t heading the ball,” said Larsen. He added that Rheece Evans had also recovered from a stomach problem that kept him out of Sunday’s trip to Bloemfontein.

Nhlanhla Vilakazi and David Booysen, who are yet to make an appearance this season, along with Robyn Johannes, remain on the treatment table.

Friday’s game will kick off at 8 pm and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 4.

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