United to bounce back against Stars

2014-10-18 00:00

THERE will be two PSL matches in the province today as AmaZulu host Chippa United at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu before Maritzburg United welcome Platinum Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium.

The clubs have had a two-week rest period, and that couldn’t have come at a better time for AmaZulu. Bottom of the log without a win in seven ties, Usuthu used the break to part ways with coach Craig Rosslee and regroup. Wilfred Mugeyi is the caretaker coach for the time being, and he will look to get off to a winning start tonight.

With Marc van Heerden, captain Carlington Nyadombo and Robyn Johannes all unavailable, AmaZulu will be forced to field a makeshift back four. Striker Bongani Ndulula is expected to start from the bench after playing in both matches for Bafana Bafana over the past week.

It is not quite desperate for AmaZulu just yet, and a couple of wins will see them climb up the log and away from the danger zone. But if they go on much longer without picking up any victories, then there could be cause for concern.

The situation is far calmer up the road at Harry Gwala. Sitting mid-table, the Team of Choice will look to maintain their undefeated home record this season with three points against Allan Freese’s Stars, who haven’t looked like the side that won both the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout titles last year.

Left-back Thabang Matuka was a slight injury concern heading into the match, but there are options aplenty should the 24-year-old be unavailable. One of those options is Zimbabwean Khumbulani Banda, who joined Maritzburg at the start of the season from Zimbabwean giants Highlanders.

Banda has been used as a left midfielder by Komphela so far this season with his pace and strength causing problems for opposition defences, but he is naturally a fullback.

“I am a left-back, that is my position, but I will play anywhere that the coach wants me to play for the team,” the soft-spoken Banda told The Witness this week.

Before the international break, Maritzburg met Kaizer Chiefs twice within a week — losing both matches 1-0. Banda said it was crucial to bounce back from that disappointment.

“It is never good to lose two games in a row and that makes this match a must-win for us,” he said. “We know that it is going to be a difficult one, but the mood in the camp has been really good and we have been working hard. We want this one badly.”

Speaking on his introduction to life in the PSL, Banda said that it was unlike anything he had experienced.

“It is very different here. It is a lot quicker and the players are a lot stronger and it is a very tough league,” he said. “But my team-mates have been good to me and they have helped me. I am settled now.”

Usuthu kick off at 6 pm while Maritzburg are off at 8.15 pm. Neither match will be televised.

PSL fixtures:

Today: 3 pm - Moroka Swallows v Black Aces,

3.30 pm - University of Pretoria v SuperSport United, 6 pm - Mamelodi Sundowns v Wits, AmaZulu v Chippa United, 8.15 pm - Orlando Pirates v Free State Stars, Maritzburg Utd v Platinum Stars.

Tomorrow: 3.30 pm - Ajax Cape Town v Chiefs, Bloem Celtic v Polokwane.



Chiefs 7 7 0 0 11 2 9 21

Ajax 7 4 2 1 9 5 4 14

Wits 7 4 1 2 9 5 4 13

Sundowns 7 4 1 2 9 5 4 13

Pirates 7 3 2 2 11 6 5 11

FS Stars 7 3 1 3 10 10 0 10

Chippa 7 3 1 3 7 7 0 10

Maritzburg 7 2 3 2 7 5 2 9

SuperSport 7 3 0 4 10 9 1 9

Aces 7 2 3 2 5 6 -1 9

Swallows 7 3 0 4 9 14 -5 9

Platinum 7 2 2 3 5 8 -3 8

Tuks 7 1 3 3 4 6 -2 6

Celtic 7 1 3 3 5 8 -3 6

Polokwane 7 1 1 5 7 15 -8 4

AmaZulu 7 0 3 4 4 11 -7 3

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