Aka out, Davids not certain for United

2008-11-19 00:00

MARITZBURG United face the prospect of having both their leading strikers out of their Premier Soccer League match against Santos at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town tomorrow night.

Ivorian Brice Aka scored a brace in the last 10 minutes to be the hero of United’s 2-2 draw against Platinum Stars at Woodburn Stadium on Sunday, having struggled early in the game. But the striker also picked up his third yellow card, and will be suspended against Santos.

Yesterday Aka was hobbling around with a brace on his right ankle at United’s training, though coach Gordon Igesund explained this was to rest a nagging muscle injury, given that Aka need not train this week for tomorrow’s game.

Aka is joined on the suspension list by defensive midfielder John Arwuah. Gary Goldstone is expected to be out for two weeks with his ligament injury.

United hope that striker Fadlu Davids returns from the broken nose he suffered against Free State Stars on October 25, though Igesund will not rush the committed forward back to action. “Fadlu is receiving a face mask today, and if the mask is up to standard and, most importantly, if Fadlu feels comfortable, we will play him. But otherwise no, because I have to protect him so soon after his injury,” the coach said.

Right-back Peter Petersen believes United will cope in the Cape, even if they have their leading strikers unavailable.

“We have got Fadlu, perhaps, and also Collen Zimba and Lebohang Kukame who can all do the job up-front. The coach told us that if we do well in training we will get a chance,” Petersen said.

United also have veteran Tico-Tico Bucuane to come off the bench and the Mozambican showed signs of finding his form against Stars.

Petersen, who this week was called up to a Bafana development squad, said United’s confidence has been boosted by their draw against Stars.

“It was nice to get a draw after so many defeats, but I think it was also the way we got the draw,” he said of a performance where United dominated the game. “It has lifted the spirit in the camp.”

Trying to explain United’s loss of form, the defender said: “Maybe we are cursed because it is all defensive errors.

“The coach is doing his utmost to try and rectify them but they just keep on happening. Hopefully against Santos we’ll turn it around. Going forward I don’t think we have any problems – it’s just at the back we have to rectify our mistakes.”

United at times lacked a penetrative final pass against Stars.

“We have been working on our final passes, getting the ball to the strikers in the area and the finishing,” Petersen said.

“We have been attacking well and putting pressure, and then just one slip-up at the back means we are the team under pressure. And that is what has cost us in the last few games.”

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