United’s biggest game this season

2009-01-27 00:00

MARITZBURG United have shown once in recent weeks what potential they have in front of their own fans, and will need a repeat performance in their Premier Soccer League meeting against Bloemfontein Celtic at Woodburn Stadium today.

This is United’s biggest match of the season so far, though in a relegation battle that is shaping up to be the most competitive yet, there are sure to be a few more to come.

The stakes for today’s game have been raised by Celtic, who had scored 10 goals in 16 games, springing to life with a 6-1 thrashing of Thanda Royal Zulu on Sunday in new coach Owen Da Gama’s third match in charge.

Second-last United must beat last-placed Celtic for two reasons – the most obvious to remain off bottom place themselves. A draw would also keep United above Celtic, but such a result at home to the bottom-placed team would be seen as a minor disaster for the PMB team, who need to start picking up points at Woodburn on a consistent basis to avoid a general panic setting in.

That is where the second motivating factor comes in. Psychologically, a second home victory out of three, preferably displaying the positive, dynamic football they did in United’s 2-0 win over Ajax Cape Town a week-and-a-half ago, would go a long way to convincing the team of a newfound domination at Woodburn – crucial to surviving the drop.

The prospect of United being relegated again will be almost unthinkable to their fans. And yet it is by no means beyond the realms of possibility.

United might seem too important an object of possession to the people of the Pietermaritzburg to possibly be relegated. But so are Celtic to the residents of Bloemfontein, and they have the best fans in the country – a good many of whom are expected to be in the stadium today.

All the more reason for United to put aside tired legs in their sixth game in 20 days, and go out and prove that they have turned a corner, at least in their home matches.

Gary Goldstone’s return from injury has made a difference for United, not least of which with the 40-metre strike against Ajax that would have been a candidate for goal of the season in most leagues in the world. The tough central defender, for one, does not see United going down.

“I think we have a wonderful bunch of payers at this team. We’ve been unlucky with injuries and suspensions. With the calibre of players we have, and of the management and coaching staff, I honestly don’t see this team being relegated,” Goldstone said yesterday.

Put another way, United have the management, they have the players and they have the coach, now they need to go out and do the job.

Coach Gordon Igesund has a full squad, apart from captain Bageta Dikilu, who is doubtful.

Today: Maritzburg United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Woodburn Stadium, 3.30 pm)

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.