Can United beat the bogey?

2013-04-12 00:00

MUCH has been said about revenge being the fuel that can get Maritzburg United over the line in tomorrow’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final against SuperSport United at Harry Gwala stadium. Maritzburg have never beaten SuperSport, and memories of November’s 2-0 loss at the same venue in a Telkom Knockout quarter- final clash will still be fresh in the minds of Team of Choice supporters.

SuperSport have been Maritzburg’s bogey, but sports fans will be the first to know that history counts for very little when there are two sides going at it out on the pitch.

Maritzburg’s lanky centre back Mario Booysen is one man who might be viewing tomorrow’s affair as a grudge match. The 24-year-old spent two seasons at SuperSport before moving to Harry Gwala at the start of the current season in a deal that saw Senegalese powerhouse Mor Diouf move the other way.

Booysen and Diouf couldn’t be more dissimilar in appearance, but their contributions to Maritzburg are equally relevant. Where Diouf was a pillar of strength at the heart of the Maritzburg defence, Booysen is the epitome of composure. They both dominate aerially and are a major threat moving forward when attacking set pieces — Booysen has scored five times for Maritzburg already this season.

When the pair meet tomorrow, there is no doubt that their respective performances will have a major impact on who advances to the semi- finals of South Africa’s version of the FA Cup, but Booysen is focused more on the task at hand than his unique relationship with SuperSport and Diouf.

“I haven’t thought about it all. It is not about me and my competition with Mor,” Booysen told The Witness. “I came here at the start of the season. I’m not here to fill his gap and I don’t think he’s there to fill my gap.”

While Booysen acknowledged that it is always a special occasion playing against a former team, he said that the scale of the occasion meant that those kinds of emotions were dispelled.

“It’s not emotional,” he said. “The only thing to think about is going out there to do my job so that we can make it to the semi-final.”

Booysen is sure to be busy. SuperSport are a strong, physical side and they will be expected to play the long ball in their attempt to break down the Maritzburg defence. And while this will require Booysen and Mohamed Awal [should he be declared fit to play] to spend the afternoon heading balls away, Maritzburg will not be discouraged by this tactic as they have been able to manufacture plenty of their own chances in recent weeks.

As club captain Shu-Aib Walters said earlier in the week, Maritzburg’s season is at a point now where it could end in disaster or as the best season in the club’s history. Sitting sixth on the league table with six matches remaining and in the last eight of the cup, it would be tragic should Maritzburg finish outside of the top eight.

“We are into the last 100 metres now — the last few games and the final sprint to the line,” said Booysen.

For coach Ernst Middendorp, tomorrow’s encounter will be tight.

“I am expecting a very close game,” he said.

Awal is expected to start tomorrow’s match after recovering from a hamstring strain while winger Orlando Smeekes is expected to be named among the substitutes for the first time since November after recovering from a broken foot bone.

Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 3 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four and SABC 1.

*The league match between SuperSport United and Maritzburg United that was due to be played at Lucas Moripe stadium on April 20 has now been moved to April 23 due to SuperSport’s involvement in the CAF Confederation Cup.


Join the conversation! 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. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.