Injuries continue to haunt United

2013-10-09 00:00

MARITZBURG United are in a race against time to be ready for their next league encounter, a home game against league leaders SuperSport United in two weeks’ time.

The Team of Choice lost captain Michael Morton and Ruben Cloete to injury in their Telkom Knock-out defeat to Platinum Stars on the weekend.

Along with goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters and defender Mario Booysen, Morton and Cloete have been the core players that coach Ernst Middendorp has called upon this season with the club ravaged by injuries.

“It’s a disaster at the moment,” the coach told The Witness, adding that a number of players were unable to take part in training yesterday.

Others such as Mohammed Yakubu, Peter Petersen, Ashley Hartog and Nhlanhla Vilakazi are also recovering, while Ayanda Nkosi will only return to training with the team next week. Nkosi is currently writing his exams at the University of Johannesburg.

Both Morton and Cloete took hard knocks to the head that resulted in a concussion for the skipper, and a fractured cheekbone for Cloete.

Cloete’s injury was after a challenge with Vuyo Mere that went unpunished, much to the ire of Middendorp.

“It was a very clear challenge and he did not even get a yellow card for it,” said the coach.

But, he said the technical team would now work hard to ensure that the two are available for the titanic encounter that awaits them at Harry Gwala Stadium when they face former three-time league winners Matsatsantsa.

“Our main focus this week will be to get a group that can train next week.

“To have eight points at this stage with this situation that we are in, it’s magic,” he said.

In six league games so far, United have won two, lost two and drawn two, and Middendorp felt that had they had a fully fit squad, they could have been able to sneak in a win against the University of Pretoria, a game that ended in a goalless draw.

“It’s a terrible run,” he said, and added that they’ve gone into every game in the league this season carrying some injuries.

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