Gordon Igesund: United will get better with each game

2009-08-11 00:00

WHILE there are still plenty of glitches to iron out, overall it was mission accomplished for Maritzburg United in their 1-1 opening Premier Soccer League draw against SuperSport United at Woodburn Stadium on Friday night.

United looked rusty and nervous in the first PSL game of the season, though they impressed with their fitness and application, and the pace of their new players.

After Morgan Gould’s 24th-minute headed opener, United equalised through Noah Chivuta’s 42nd-minute penalty, which TV replays showed had been legitimately awarded, with striker Brice Aka having had his legs taken out in the area by Gould.

“I was very happy with the start,” United coach Gordon Igesund said yesterday. “Playing against the champions was always going to be difficult, but we came through well and I know we will get better with each game.

“I was pleased with our focus and mostly that the fitness was nice and high. Now all the players need is confidence — we gave the ball away a lot in certain periods, but in the second half we were much better.

“There’s lots of work to do and we’re nowhere near ready. But none of the teams are ready, except maybe Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates who have played in a lot of competitive pre-season matches.”

United’s high fitness level could be one of the team’s strengths this season. “Last season I never really had a pre-season so we were always playing catch-up,” Igesund said. “But apart from that all my teams have always been brought to a European standard of fitness in the pre-season.”

The coach said overall he is satisfied with the performances of his new signings — playmakers Chivuta and Vito Badiane, defensive midfielder Musa Nyatama, wingers Felix Obada and Rudolf Bester, defenders Byrone Hendricks and James Madidilane, and goalkeeper Brenden Wardle.

“If you look at Vito — I know what he can do and he was nowhere near what he’s capable of. You’re going to see a lot more from him this season.

“I thought James Madidilani did very well filling in for Elias Ngwepe at left-back. The ’keeper seemed to show a bit of nerves — he was trying to do the second thing before the first and as a result he spilled the ball a few times, but these are all things we are going to work on.”

United have more than a week to iron out some of their early-season glitches before their next game away to Wits University next Wednesday.

“We started already today,” Igesund said. “I think it’s very important to keep the ball more.

“I think it was was partly because of the players’ enthusiasm and their fitness that they wanted to play at 100 miles per hour when we needed to put our foot on the ball sometimes and slow things down.”

Igesund said United are working on the surface at Woodburn, which the rugby season has left in a bumpy condition, to have it in better condition before their next home game against AmaZulu on August 26.

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