Kurt Lentjies brings his skills back home

2014-01-23 00:00

PSL Football

NEW Maritzburg United signing Kurt Lentjies could have remained at title challenging SuperSport United, but he instead chose to return to his struggling former club.

The much travelled midfielder, who has in the past turned out for FC Fortune, Ikapa Sporting, Mamelodi Sundowns, Bloemfontein Celtic and The Team of Choice, wasn’t seeing much game time at Matsatsantsa, and when he got a call from Farook Kadodia, his mind was made up on where he wanted to be.

“I always had a soft spot for Maritzburg, and when I got a call from Farook Kadodia, it was easy for me to come back. I spent two and a half years here before, so I said let me come back and help the team and we’ll see how it goes,” the 28-year-old Capetonian told journalists after the team’s training session at Carter High School yesterday.

For Lentjies, the decision to return to Pietermaritzburg was made easier by the fact that he still had a house in the city.

“It was sitting empty, so I haven’t had a hard time settling down,” he said.

One of the things that sets Lentjies apart is his versatility and ability to play anywhere across the middle of the park.

“I’ll play wherever the coach wants me to play,” he said, adding that the squad was ready for the remaining half of the season.

The mood in training yesterday was not that of a club fighting against relegation. The players and coach Steve Komphela seemed to enjoy Virgil Vries’s continuous banter. Not once did the reserve goalkeeper keep quiet during the one-hour training session.

Speaking to journalists after training, Komphela said the squad he had inherited was in good shape, as he praised the work done by his predecessors Ernst Middendorp and Clinton Larsen.

“The best we can do is to get the best out of every individual. The team is strong defensively, and that is because of the work Middendorp did with them, and you can see the vibrancy from Larsen. Those two have to be commended,” Komphela said.

For the club, the goal set at the beginning of the season — which was to finish in the top eight and to win a cup — had changed.

“For us, the target is 34 points which is enough to avoid relegation. The Nedbank Cup is still available and is a target. But, it is not our main priority,” he said.

For the first time this season, United have the majority of their players available.

“Everybody is back. [Delron] Buckley, Rheece [Evans] and even [Robyn] Johannes is back. The only player still injured is Peter Petersen. Shu-Aib [Walters] has also started training,” he said.

Regarding Nhlanhla Vilakazi, who is yet to play an official game for the club since joining them from Ajax Cape Town before the start of the season, Komphela they didn’t want to rush him back from his knee injury.

Vilakazi himself agreed that although he has been given the all clear by the doctor, he had to be slowly integrated back into the team, and he hoped he would be back in action in time for their first league game of the year against the University of Pretoria at the Tuks Stadium on February 5.

“Everything is fine. I just have to continue with gym and see how it goes. It’s been good so far,” he told The Witness.

“At the moment it’s just a matter of strengthening my knee.”

For Vilakazi, he said the goal for the players was still to finish as high as they can on the table.

“For us players, the goal is to finish in the top eight, and it’s still possible,” he said, adding that he believed they had a good squad to achieve that.

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