Schalkwyk, Dhladhla train with United

2011-01-05 00:00

FORWARDS Gert Schalkwyk and Fanyana Dhladhla have been training with Maritzburg United this week as coach Ernst Middendorp attempts to bolster the experience in his young squad.

Third-last United return from the Christmas break with their Premier Soccer League fixture against second-last Mpumalanga Black Aces, who this week appointed Paul Dolezar as coach to replace Neil Tovey, at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.

Middendorp said he will run the rule over the talented forward pairing of Orlando Pirates’ Schalkwyk and Mamelodi Sundowns right-wing Dhladhla, though no decision has been made on signing the players yet.

“These are two players I am looking into. We have a lot of young players like Dukes Dlamini, Rhees Evans, JB Ncubeni and Sheldon Lawrence who are doing very well on the training ground and coming along well. But when it comes to the match it’s a different story.

“JB came on and turned the game in our 1-0 win against Moroka Swallows but against Free State Stars [a 2-0 defeat], in a pressure situation, he gave a lot less.

“So it’s a young team and one that has been affected by constant injuries to players like Fadlu Davids and Peter Petersen. So we must look at these types of experienced players.”

After impressing on loan to Bloemfontein Celtic, Schalkwyk has endured a frustrating season-and-a-half at Pirates, where coach Ruud Krol has appeared averse to fielding the forward.

Skilful, pacy winger Dhladhla has similarly barely been fielded at Sundowns after impressing in a loan spell to Maritzburg two seasons ago.

United remain rooted in 14th place despite going into the recess with an impressive 1-0 win in Nelspruit on December 22 that ended Wits University’s unbeaten home run.

Frustratingly for the PMB team, had they taken a hatful of chances and beaten Stars at home in their previous match, instead of somehow conjuring to lose 2-0, United would have been in a much healthier ninth.

Middendorp praised his players’ commitement to come away with a win against Wits, though is confounded that the performance of his team against Stars was, according to the coach, “of a much higher level”.

“But I said to the players after the Free State game that we are not going to change the gameplan because the results will come, and we did win our next game against Wits.”

The coach said, with 18 matches remaining, his aim is still very much to try to reach the top eight.

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