On duty against Aces

2014-09-13 00:00

THE buzz surrounding Maritzburg United this season is set to continue this afternoon, as the Team of Choice host Mpumalanga Black Aces at Harry Gwala Stadium.

United have started the season brightly and sit in sixth position on the PSL log going into the clash.

Lively winger Deolin Mekoa (knee) and midfielder Thokozani Sekotlong (groin) are unavailable, while Ghanaian centre back Mohammed Awal is also unlikely to feature, due to his involvement with the national side in midweek. That should leave John Paintsil and Kwanda Mngonyama operating alongside each other in the heart of United’s defence, while Thabang Matuka, Abel Mabaso and Zimbabwean Khumbulani Banda will come into contention for the fullback slots.

In midfield, Ashley Hartog looks set to protect his back four, while Mondli Cele, Kurt Lentjies, Nhlanhla Vilakazi, Ayanda Nkosi and Thami Mkhize will all be fighting for places.

In goal, Steve Komphela is giving nothing away over whether he is leaning towards Shu-Aib Walters or Virgil Vries — a dual that looks set to continue for some time.

Up front, new signing Mike Mohammed is likely to be given the nod, although Terrance Mandaza is also back to full fitness.

United are a new-look side this season, with youngsters and PSL rookies aplenty. While these players bring elements of pace and energy to the squad, one of the biggest adjustments they have had to make is to cope with the physical rigours of the PSL.

“The PSL is slowly but surely becoming a monstrous league,” Komphela told Weekend Witness this week.

“In pre-season we loaded them [physically] and they [the new players] felt we were being ruthless and unkind. But we had to prepare them for the ruthless PSL. If you are physically prepared then you can accept any challenge.”

Aces, who surprised to finish in the top eight last season, have had a less-desirable start to 2014/15 with a win, two draws and two losses to their name.

Despite this, the Mpumalanga side will always be viewed as a threat under coach Clive Barker, and Komphela ­echoed these sentiments.

“When you play against a team who are highly injected with motivation like Aces are, you know it is not going to be easy,” Komphela said, making reference to Barker’s reputation as being a man manager. “They also have quite a number of experienced players. But we are playing at Harry Gwala, and that has to count for us. Every time we play here it is vibrant and we play beautiful football, and the supporters enjoy it.”

Speaking of Mohammed, Komphela said he expects a lot from the striker and has challenged him to be better than what he has shown in United colours so far.

“It has been good to see him come through and he scored a beautiful goal [in August 26’s 3-0 win over Chippa],” said Komphela. “I would like to see him be more of a team player. He is surrounded by quality players and if he becomes a team player then the team will benefit.”



3 pm: Kaizer Chiefs vs University of Pretoria, Maritzburg Utd vs Black Aces.

6 pm: SuperSport United vs Platinum Stars, Polokwane City vs AmaZulu.

8.15 pm: Orlando Pirates vs Wits, Ajax Cape Town vs Free State Stars.


3 pm: Moroka Swallows vs Chippa United, Bloem Celtic vs Mamelodi Sundowns.



Chiefs 5 5 0 0 8 1 7 15

Ajax 5 3 2 0 7 3 4 11

Wits 5 3 1 1 7 4 3 10

Swallows 5 3 0 2 7 9 -2 9

Pirates 5 2 2 1 10 5 5 8

Maritzburg 5 2 2 1 7 4 3 8

FS Stars 5 2 1 2 6 6 0 7

Sundowns 5 2 1 2 5 5 0 7

Platinum 5 2 1 2 4 5 -1 7

Celtic 5 1 3 1 5 4 1 6

Tuks 5 1 2 2 3 4 -1 5

Aces 5 1 2 2 4 6 -2 5

Chippa 5 1 1 3 4 7 -3 4

SuperSport 5 1 0 4 4 8 -4 3

Polokwane 5 1 0 4 5 10 -5 3

AmaZulu 5 0 2 3 2 7 -5 2

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