It’s all looking rosy for Maritzburg United

2014-10-25 00:00

THIRD on the log, undefeated at home and coming off the biggest win in their history — it has been a dream start to 2014/15 for Maritzburg United.

Wednesday night’s 4-1 win over SuperSport United, at SuperSport United, was the first time ever that Maritzburg has scored four goals in a PSL match. More importantly, it came at a time when SuperSport were looking close to unbeatable after a hugely impressive start under Gordon Igesund.

The significance of that night should not be understated. Being able to pull off a result like that is a sign of how far the Team of Choice has come under coach Steve Komphela. Possibly the most startling statistic of all is that no side has scored more league goals than Maritzburg this season. They lead the way with 14 goals, level with SuperSport, while undefeated log leaders Kaizer Chiefs have netted 13 times. This illustrates United’s growth the most, because season after season they have been a side that has struggled in front of goal. This can largely be put down to the Ernst Middendorp era and the German tactician’s emphasis on defence rather than attack.

It has taken a while, but Komphela has finally rid the club of that philosophy. The boss has assembled a squad of young, quick, talented and vibrant players who have the ability, or at least the potential, to be effective in the final third. Mondli Cele has been a revelation, while the resurgence of Terrance Mandaza came at the perfect time against SuperSport.

United will not be in action this weekend, after being knocked out of the Telkom Knockout at the first hurdle, but that is perhaps a blessing in disguise. Komphela will use the time off to further sculpt his side’s attacking capabilities, and to encourage this free-flowing and fearless approach to football that is being seen in the Midlands right now.

Football in these parts has never had so much reason for optimism.

If only the same could be said for AmaZulu. Still without a win after nine matches, Usuthu are now well and truly in a relegation scrap. It can all change very quickly, and next weekend’s home clash against Mpumalanga Black Aces is an absolute must win, considering that Kaizer Chiefs visit Durban after that. There is a long way to go yet, but nearly a third of the way through the season, there appears to be no sign of things changing for the Durban boys.

The biggest problem, as always, is in front of goal. No side will ever achieve anything scoring four goals every nine matches, and that is what the league table tells us about AmaZulu’s season.

It is crazy to think that for a long while, Maritzburg were considered the least glamorous of the three KZN clubs, with AmaZulu leading the way and Golden Arrows also enjoying the bright lights of Durban. With Arrows battling away in the NFD and AmaZulu now surely worried about the prospect of joining them, PMB has all of a sudden become the best advertisement for KZN’s football.

Who would have thought?

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