Ertugral playing mind games ahead of United clash

2008-09-10 00:00

KAIZER Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral appears to have started the mind games ahead of his side’s Premier Soccer League clash against Maritzburg United at Chatsworth Stadium.

Yesterday, Ertugral — who has not always had the most cordial relationship with United coach Gordon Igesund, having replaced him at Ajax Cape Town two seasons ago — made contradictory statements to two separate publications on his team’s chances against United.

Speaking to Sapa, Ertugral claimed Chiefs were wary of United.

“Any team that Gordon coaches is going to be competitive,” he said. “He has a lot of experience and has proved his credentials as a top-class coach over and over.

“I was also impressed by their [United’s opening] 1-1 away draw against Ajax Cape Town.”

Yet in the Daily Sun, Ertugral is quoted as saying he has the measure of Igesund’s tactics.

“We do not know what to expect from them [Maritzburg],” the Turkish/German said. “But fortunately I know how their coach, Gordon Igesund, operates.”

Ertugral said that in the absence of suspended striker Jose Torrealba, who has been in dazzling form, he hopes midfielders Siphiwe Tshabalala, Gert Schalkwyk and David Mathebula can be a source of goals.

Tshabalala produced his best performance in a Bafana Bafana jersey in the 1-0 African Nations Cup qualifying defeat against Nigeria in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, while Schalkwyk has been in goal-scoring form for Chiefs.

“Tshabalala is an important factor in my side. He is playing superbly. His performance for Bafana was brilliant and I want him to continue and keep up the good work. He will play a key role for Chiefs against United.”

“I expect newcomers Maritzburg to come at us. The goal-scoring is still a problem for us and hopefully Schalkwyk, Tshabalala and his teammates will come to the party, as I am determined to return home with our first win.”

Chiefs suffered a 2-1 defeat against Thanda Royal Zulu in their PSL opener and will hope not to make it two-out-of-two against KZN sides on Sunday.

United received a setback in training yesterday, where new American goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap appeared to pick up an injury. Gilstrap had been set to make his debut after missing the Ajax game because his international clearance had not yet come through.

This could mean Namibian international Athiel Mbaha, who had a shaky game against Ajax — conceding a soft goal — may have to take the gloves against Chiefs.

One hopes Igesund doesn’t come to regret releasing last season’s very tidy and dependable ‘keeper Dominic Sithole, who played in every minute of United’s successful promotion campaign.

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