Maritzburg United hang by a thread

2016-02-24 06:00

MARITZBURG United stand to lose their R12 million a year sponsorship deal with the Msunduzi Municipality if they fail to remain in the Premier League at the end of the season. The Witness was informed last Wednesday, by a source who asked not to be named, that the deal the municipality has with the club is valid as long as they remain in the top flight.

However, the Team of Choice currently find themselves at the bottom of the league, and with every passing game, the possibility of relegation into the national first division becomes more of a reality for the Midlands club.

It’s a far cry from last season when United, under the tutelage of Steve ­Komphela, achieved the highest league finish in their history when they made it into the top eight.

Now, it’s not only the fans who are concerned, and, with the team’s top flight status looking uncertain, the club management have to attend the next executive committee (Exco) meeting to explain to the council how they plan to get out of the relegation quagmire they find themselves in. Last Wednesday, club chairperson Farook Kadodia told has said the purpose of the meeting was to reassure ­council that they had a strategy in place to climb out of the relegation zone.

“At the end of the day everybody is concerned about the club. We have been called in to attend next week’s Exco meeting and let council know that we are confident we have an exit strategy to get out from where we find ourselves,” he said.

Msunduzi spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said next week’s sitting of ­Exco was open to the media and the public, and was not classified as confidential.

The Team of Choice have had a dismal season, managing only two wins in all competitions, and firing two coaches - rookie boss Mandla Ncikazi and experienced Clive Barker. Under Ernst Middendorp, United’s performances on the pitch have picked up, but they are yet to win a game under the German. And, they are yet to pick up three points since the death of star midfielder Mondli Cele in an accident.

Spokesperson Brian Zuma issued a rallying call this week, reminding fans that they still had seven games at home this season, and they needed their support to help them climb up the table.

After playing Platinum Stars at the weekend, the remaining games at home are encounters against Bidvest Wits, SuperSport United, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Ajax Cape Town, Golden Arrows and fellow ­strugglers, University of Pretoria.

Middendorp said after the Kaizer Chiefs game in Johannesburg about two weeks ago they were confident of reaching safety come the end of the season.

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