Nedbank Cup quarter-final:it’s high time United beat SuperSport, says Chansa

2013-04-10 00:00

AS Maritzburg United prepare for what is possibly the biggest game of their season — this Saturday’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final clash with SuperSport United at Harry Gwala stadium — there is a sense of anticipation starting to build up amongst Team of Choice supporters.

United have performed above expectations this season and currently occupy fifth position on the PSL table — a feat that most would have thought unattainable for coach Ernst Middendorp’s men with just six rounds of fixtures remaining.

But as good as Maritzburg have been in the league this season, Saturday’s date with SuperSport is guaranteed to be a difficult challenge, largely because Maritzburg have never beaten SuperSport in a competitive football match.

But for Maritzburg’s veteran reserve goalkeeper Francis Chansa, it is high time for that to all change.

“We need to do something, to go far and win something for the club. That is very important to all of us,” Chansa told The Witness yesterday.

“If we can perform like we can, then it can happen so let’s just wait and see.”

Chansa’s role on the field has been lessened since the arrival of Namibian Virgil Vries, who has been given the nod as number two to club captain Shu-Aib Walters.

But it is on the training ground where Chansa’s positivity is felt most these days. His boundless energy and constant encouragement to the club’s youngsters is visible at all sessions, and the 38-year-old Congolese is quite happy with his new role.

“When you love football, you have to love all of football, regardless of who is playing in your position,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ve been playing for many years and I’ve given my best. We are a family and we need to be that way.”

With Maritzburg, despite their good showing this season, going into Saturday as slight underdogs, the benefit of playing in front of a lively home crowd could have a massive role to play in who advances to the semi-finals.

The atmosphere at Harry Gwala has been good in recent weeks, and Chansa says the Pietermaritzburg faithful will always have a special place in his heart.

“I’ll miss this crowd when I’m not here anymore. They support their team and love their football and there is no pressure from them,” he said.

“I hope they come in their numbers. There is no player who doesn’t enjoy his football when he plays in a packed stadium.”

On the injury front, Maritzburg are closely monitoring centre-back Mohamed Awal’s hamstring strain and he remains a doubtful starter.

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