Upset for Komphela, survival for Rosslee

2014-10-04 00:00

MARITZBURG United face the impossible while AmaZulu are simply desperate in tonight’s Telkom Knockout first round fixtures.

The Team of Choice travel to Soweto for their second date with Kaizer Chiefs in a week while Usuthu host Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium in what is a must-win match for under-fire coach Craig Rosslee.

It has been a week to forget for Rosslee. Speculation over his future reached new heights that culminated with a fan revolt at the club’s Durban training complex on Thursday. There have also been reports of uncertainty at board level and, at one stage, it didn’t look like Rosslee was going to get through the week. But he is still the man in charge, though that might not be the case should AmaZulu lose tonight.

Rosslee has guided Usuthu through their first seven matches of the league season without a win, with one of his four losses coming against Celtic on August 27. It does not make for good reading, and if the coach is to come out of it all on the right side of a board decision then he will need his players to deliver tonight. It seems like he has their backing.

“He is a good coach and we enjoy working with him and enjoy his philosophy of football,” Usuthu left-back Marc van Heerden told yesterday. “So to fire the coach now would probably not be the best thing for the club and, like I said, he is a very good coach. Players respect him.”

Van Heerden added that he was not completely disheartened by how the side had played so far this season.

“We just need that little bit of luck and once that comes, everything will fall into place. We have not played badly. If you have watched our games, we have played good football and it is just the luck that is not there for us,” he told the website. “Celtic is always a tough game, whether you play at home or away. They are always a side that gives you a hard time. They have a good coach behind them in [Ernst] Middendorp. He is a very tactical coach.”

The task for Maritzburg is not as dire but equally daunting. Up against a Chiefs side that is setting a new benchmark for excellence in South African football, few will give coach Steve Komphela a chance of causing an upset at FNB Stadium.

But that might be just the motivation the players need if they are to become the first side to beat Chiefs this season.

Komphela remains confident, and says that his side will be “wiser” tonight after having the Chiefs experience a week ago.

“It’s a grudge match, we won’t allow them to beat us again,” he told the club’s official website. “They [Chiefs] are a mean machine, but I believe they are beatable.”

Both matches kick off at 8.15 pm.

Today’s Fixtures

3 pm: SuperSport United v Free State Stars - SS4

3 pm: Platinum Stars v Chippa United

5.30 pm: Mamelodi Sundowns v University of Pretoria

8.15 pm: Kaizer Chiefs v Maritzburg Utd - SS4

8.15 pm: AmaZulu v Bloem Celtic - SABC 1


3 pm: Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City - SS4

3 pm: Ajax Cape Town v Black Aces - SABC 1

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