Fans to get their first look at Larsen’s methods tonight

2013-10-23 00:00

BY the end of today, Maritzburg United fans will have an idea of what to expect from new coach Clinton Larsen’s reign following his appointment last week.

The Team of Choice face league leaders SuperSport United at Harry Gwala Stadium today in an anticipated premiership clash where both teams are desperate for a win.

United are currently unbeaten at home this season, and will hope to extend that run with a win against Matsatsantsa a Pitori, whose league form of late has not been something to write home about.

Cavin Johnson’s boys may be leading the premiership table, but truth be told, since they beat champions Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, they’ve picked up just two points from their last three games.

But, this would not play in the minds of United’s players today, said coach Larsen.

“A team like SuperSport have quality players and shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ll show them the respect,” Larsen told The Witness yesterday. “We won’t fool ourselves that it’s going to be an easy game. They’ve been playing good football under Cavin Johnson and they’re always a strong team,” he said.

Already a week into his tenure as United coach, Larsen said preparations for the game had been going wll.

“The boys have responded really well and I’m happy. I’m aware of the record that we’ve never beaten SuperSport, but we’ll be out to change that,” he said.

The club’s injury situation was looking bleak a couple of weeks ago, but the coach will be happy to have a number of his players, including captain Michael Morton and striker Mohammed Yakubu, back.

United’s 12th man has been a bit of a disappointment this season with few turning out for home games, and the crowds turning on former coach Ernst Middendorp in their last home game, a 2-0 win against strugglers Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Chairperson Farook Kadodia was critical of the football the club played under Middendorp, even saying it was responsible for keeping fans away.

Larsen, who has promised to play an attacking game, said: “We hope the supporters come out. We know that they want to see attacking football and want to see the team winning. We hope they can come out and support the team as we know they can have an impact as the 12th man.”

Today’s clash will also be a battle of the goalkeepers with United’s veteran Shu-Aib Walters, who has been one of the club’s top performers this season, coming up against SuperSport’s impressive youngster Ronwen Williams, who just recently landed his first call-up to coach Gordon Igesund’s national side.

Williams told The Witness he always relished the opportunities of playing against players he looks up to.

“He’s [Walters] represented our country and he’s been consistent over the years. I’ve always watched him and tried to pick up a few things from his game,” Williams said after the team’s training session at Laddsworth Primary School.

Supersport coach Johnson said that although United had a new mentor in Larsen, they knew him from his time at Bloemfontein Celtic.

“I prepare my team first and hope our tactics are better than theirs on the day,” said Johnson. “We know Maritzburg United is a good team with a lot of good players. We’ve taken note of their good individuals,” he said.

• Tonight’s match will not be televised.

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