Kadodia feels Sundowns’ pain

2012-12-03 00:00

THE Mamelodi Sundowns board finally lost patience with coach Johan Neeskens yesterday after backing him through what has been a dismal season for the Pretoria-based side, and the series of events highlighted how difficult it can be for a club to back their manager when things are not going well.

Fortunately for Maritzburg United and chairperson Farouk Kadodia, there are no such worries at Harry Gwala as the PSL reaches its halfway stage this season.

While Kadodia would not be drawn into commenting too much on Downs’ decision to get rid of Neeskens and hire former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane, he did tell The Witness yesterday that he empathised with the club.

“It is a very sad situation for Sundowns and the brand of what is one of the biggest clubs in the country,” he said.

Kadodia has himself been in such situations in the past, and he has never been shy to make changes in his managerial personnel at crucial stages during the season.

Trott Moloto, Professor Ngubane, Kosta Papic, Ian Palmer, Gordon Igesund and even current coach Ernst Middendorp have all been shown the exit door at some stage by United, but things could not be more stable at the moment.

Middendorp, in his second spell at the club, has guided United to third place on the PSL table after tasting defeat just once in 12 outings.

“It is obviously very comforting for us to be in this situation as we near the halfway stage; it is a big change for us,” added Kadodia.

But while it may all seem like fun in the sun for Middendorp and his charges right now, Kadodia knows that tomorrow night’s league clash against fourth-placed Platinum Stars at Harry Gwala could be potentially tricky.

“Our biggest threat right now is that we get complacent,” said Kadodia. “They [Stars] have a lot to play for and we will need to be at our best to get a result.”

But Middendorp appears to have bred a squad this season that, collectively, have good heads on their shoulders.

The right blend of youth and experience has seen some of the more seasoned players in the squad keep the youngsters firmly grounded through what has been the best ever start to a PSL season for United.

Two of those experienced players — Delron Buckley and Peter Petersen — are both available for tomorrow night’s clash after missing out on the 3-1 win over Moroka Swallows last weekend. Buckley returns from suspension, while Petersen has recovered from a bruised hip.

“It is good to have those guys back for selection,” said Kadodia. “But the coach will look at the situation and decide on the best way to get the result.”

But while no one is guaranteed a start, Buckley will surely walk straight back into the match-day 11 and Petersen’s good form prior to his injury should see him return too.

A win for United will see them go level on points with Soweto giants Orlando Pirates, who are in action on Wednesday night against Chippa United, in second position.

The match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will not be televised.

• sport@witness.co.za

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