Bucuane hoping for a run against Chiefs

2008-09-10 00:00

MARITZBURG United’s new forward, Mozambican captain Manuel “Tico-Tico” Bucuane, is hoping for a first run out for the team in the Premier Soccer League meeting against Kaizer Chiefs at Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday.

Bucuane (34), the hugely experienced Jomo Cosmos legend, missed out on United’s opening 1-1 draw against Ajax Cape Town at Athlone Stadium because he had only joined the team four days previously.

The impish, intelligent forward has also not had a pre-season since being put on transfer by Orlando Pirates, but has been playing for Mozambique, including in last weekend’s World/African qualifying 1-1 home draw against Ivory Coast.

“I’m pretty fine,” Bucuane said of his fitness yesterday. “I just came back from playing for the national team, where I played the whole game.”

Besides little training time with his new team-mates, Bucuane has also been coming to terms with the playmaking role he has been asked to fill so far by coach Gordon Igesund.

“Each day, I get to know the guys. I am still struggling with the combinations and how the coach wants me to play, and how the team plays as well,” he said.

“I’m still not quite understanding what the coach wants from me. I am a striker, but I can play a bit deeper if the coach wants me to. Whatever benefits the team, I will do it.

“It’s going to take a while because the league has already started and there’s not time to adjust, but I believe I’m experienced enough to get to know the feel of the team.”

Bucuane is hoping to get on the field against Chiefs, who will be without suspended star striker Jose Torrealba.

“I was ready for the first game. I’m here to play and I want to help the team,” Bucuane said.

“It was a bit disappointing not to play against Ajax, but I understood the coach had other players training together for a long time and couldn’t just take one out to put me in. I hope this time round I’ll fit in his plans.”

After a frustrating period in his career at Pirates, Bucuane believes he still has much to offer in the PSL, where he has notched up some 300 appearances for Cosmos, Supersport United and the Bucs.

“It was pretty bad [at Pirates],” he said. “I wasn’t lucky enough and got injuries, then wasn’t used much by the coaches. But I’ve put that behind me and am concentrating on this new challenge, and hopefully I’ll play more and can help the team.”

American goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap, who was set to make his debut on Sunday, has kidney stones and is doubtful.

• Tickets are on sale at Computicket, SuperSave in Retief Street and the club offices in Victoria Road. Bus rides are available at R30 (with a ticket and United T-shirt) and R150 (with a ticket and a club jersey), from the club office for the first 500 fans.

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