Igesund: We’ll attack AmaZulu

2009-08-26 00:00

UNASSUMINGLY and quietly as a cat thief sneaking through the Louvre, Maritzburg United have been going about their business for the 2009/10 Premier Soccer League season without raising attention, with their third fixture the KZN derby against AmaZulu at Woodburn Stadium tonight.

With two solid if unspectacular 1-1 draws that came against quality opposition — at home to champions SuperSport United then away to Wits University — it has been a good start to the season for United, though not one that has set tongues wagging around the country.

And that seems to be just the way the Pietermaritzburg team like it. Inside the camp, though, there seems a buzz of excitement for a current season still very much in its infant stages.

In both games so far United have shown character to fight back from 1-0 down to force a draw.

Now United will be going for their first win, a result that, if they can achieve it, will give them an impressive five points from three games and set them up for a potentially successful season that might just see the Team of Choice achieve their aim of a top-eight finish.

Coach Gordon Igesund has said he wants to attack AmaZulu, and proclaimed this week he will go as far as playing three strikers tonight.

“I’ve seen my team come back from 1-0 down twice to earn tough draws in their first two games, now I want to see how they react to going a goal up,” the coach confidently proclaimed after United’s training session at Woodburn yesterday.

“I’m going to play three strikers and I’m going to attack them. I want to go for the three points and get our first win of the season against AmaZulu.

“The [Woodburn] pitch has been improved dramatically from when it was really patchy from rugby season in our first game. The surface was a real problem for us in that game and a lot of the players came off and asked can’t we do something about it.

“We’ve let the grass grow and rolled it, and we’ll roll it again tomorrow morning [today].”

Igesund seems enthusiastic about the make-up of his squad and said he might take a flexible approach to selection this season.

“I’m going to rotate players a bit,” he said. “I’m known as a coach who sticks to a winning team but, with the nature of this squad, I’ve got players I can bring in and not lose anything. For instance I’ve got four strikers who can run their legs off.”

After a shaky start against SuperSport, goalkeeper Brenden Wardle’s confidence would have been boosted by a match-saving penalty save against Wits.

With left-back Elias Ngwepe back from flu, Igesund has a pleasant selection dilemma of which full-back, Peter Petersen or James Madidilani, will fill right-back.

Playmaker Noah Chivuta’s calm passing has bolstered the United midfield, while pacy wingers Rudolf Bester and Felix Obada could be the team’s secret weapon.

Despite their 4-1 aggregate MTN8 semi-final defeat to Lamontville Golden Arrows, AmaZulu have made a solid start to the league season including a 1-0 away victory against Platinum Stars.

Litha Ngxabi has been in sprightly form for Usuthu on the left and though with young talent Sthembiso Dlamini returning from injury, coach Neil Tovey might opt for Ngxabi at playmaker. Much of the Durban team’s play comes from Mark van Heerden at left-back.

The death of right-back Jan Sillo in a car accident is a morale blow Usuthu will want to bounce back from as soon as possible.

It’s a night of derbies in the PSL in a full round of matches as a compressed season gets into full swing.

At Dobsonville Stadium there will be the Soweto derby between Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates. MTN8 finalists Ajax Cape Town meet Santos in the Cape derby at Newlands.

* Tickets for Maritzburg v AmaZulu at Computicket, SuperSave and the club offices in Victoria Road.

Today: Lamontville Golden Arrows v Platinum Stars (Chatsworth Stadium, 3 pm), Jomo Cosmos v Mpumalanga Black Aces (Rand Stadium, 7.30 pm), Maritzburg United v AmaZulu (Woodburn Stadium, 7.30 pm), Moroka Swallows v Orlando Pirates (Dobsonville Stadium, 7.30 pm — live on SuperSport 4), Kaizer Chiefs v Wits University (Orlando Stadium, 7.30 pm), Mamelodi Sundowns v Free State Stars (Super Stadium, 7.30 pm — live on SuperSport Blitz), Bloemfontein Celtic v SuperSport United (Seisa Ramabodu Stadium, 7.30 pm), Ajax Cape Town v Santos (Newlands, 7.30 pm — live on SuperSport 4)

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