Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates clash should be a fiery affair

2014-12-02 00:00

THERE are only two PSL fixtures tonight and both involve the KwaZulu-Natal clubs.

Maritzburg United are away to Soweto giants Orlando Pirates, while Steve ­Barker will take charge of his first game as AmaZulu boss when the ­relegation-threatened Durban outfit host the coach’s former club, Tuks, at Princess Magogo Stadium.

United could be forgiven for travelling to FNB Stadium tonight with their tails between their legs. A fantastic start to the league season received a major dent on Wednesday when they squandered a 1-0 lead in the final 10 minutes to go down 2-1 to Moroka Swallows. It was United’s first loss at Harry Gwala Stadium this season, and if they had managed to hold on to their lead, they would be going into tonight’s clash in third place on the table and ahead of Pirates.

Coach Steve Komphela is known for his ability to man-manage, though, and he insists that motivation is never a ­problem with this crop of players.

“They are professional, they get paid for this and it is their job. Each one of them, whenever they are playing, they know the responsibility that comes with their duty,” Komphela said in the ­build-up to tonight’s match.

“We are going to Pirates and we all know that is a difficult game. The next big issue for us is to take the chances we create.”

United have centre back David ­Booysen available after serving his ­suspension, while the trio of Sibusiso Kumalo, Deolin Mekoa and Mohau ­Mokate remain sidelined with injury.

Komphela added that he was expecting a fiery affair given that it will be fifth Pirates versus sixth United.

“When you are on top, all of the matches you play become confrontational,” he said. “Everybody wants to climb above everybody. Teams are looking at you and they want to bring you down. It is nice to play matches of this calibre.”

Pirates are set to welcome back fullback Thabo Matlaba and striker Lehlohonolo Majoro after recovering from Achilles and ankle injuries respectively.

Komphela, meanwhile, will be watched closely once more in terms of who he chooses in goal. Virgil Vries has been the number one for most of the season so far, but Shu-Aib Walters is awaiting an opportunity to get back to the top.

In Durban, AmaZulu will see the dawn of a new era as Barker takes the reins for the first time. There can be no better ­fixture for him to open his account as he prepares to go up against the very same players he was working with only a little more than a week ago.

Usuthu are bottom of the PSL table and yet to record a victory this season. If it is going to change for them, it needs to happen quickly.

“The staff at the club have been very open and friendly, and the players, I ­believe, have responded well to having a new man in charge,” Barker told ­SuperSport. “I have had a good chat to them to make them realise what we need to do to get out of this situation. ­Sometimes when you have change like we have, then it gives everyone the chance to put their hand up.

“It is not the opposition [in reference to facing Tuks]. I would not care who we are playing, as long as we start with a victory. Time is not on our side.”

PSL fixtures (All 7.30 pm)


Orlando Pirates v Maritzburg Utd

AmaZulu v University of Pretoria


Free State Stars v Bloem Celtic

Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United

Moroka Swallows v Ajax Cape Town

Wits v Kaizer Chiefs

Polokwane City v Platinum Stars

Chippa United v Black Aces

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