Sibisi believes a more experienced United can finally match Sundowns

2010-11-04 00:00

THEY’RE the team Maritzburg United have had the least success against, losing every single meeting, but striker Diyo Sibisi believes his side have perhaps their best chance yet of ending that dismal record in Sunday’s Telkom Knockout quarter-final against Mamelodi Sundowns at Harry Gwala Stadium.

United’s record against Sundowns, whom barrel-chested striker Sibisi played for two seasons ago, couldn’t make for worse reading.

Nine times played in league and cup meetings: nine defeats. In those games Sundowns have scored 23 goals, and Maritzburg five.

It’s been about as comprehensive a domination as you could ask for, as the Team of Choice have just not found a way to counter Patrice Motsepe’s billionaire Tshwane team.

And yet Sibisi, United’s on-loan striker from Ajax Cape Town, believes his new team have a decent chance of upholding the law of averages on Sunday.

“I think so,” he said yesterday. “I think Maritzburg are a different team now to previous seasons and that things have changed at this club. I think we’re going to fight on Sunday.

“We have some new young players to add to those who were here last season, the team has signed experienced players like Fabian McCarthy, Bevan Fransch and myself.

“I think it’s a stronger squad than before. I don’t think Sundowns will come to Maritzburg and beat us.”

Sibisi has scored two goals in three games for United, and started to look somewhere nearer the striker who was once prolific for Free State Stars, before seeking greener pastures.

He spent six months with Sundowns two seasons ago, and believes the Brazilians are not invincible.

“Sundowns are extremely good, from the middle of the field to up front,” he said. “But we can beat them. We have enough players with experience in our squad.

“Personally, I have always played well against Sundowns and scored against them, whether it was at Stars or Ajax. I know them well and have trained with their defenders. Downs can be slow at the back and that is where we can create problems.”

After Sundowns, Sibisi joined Ajax last season, though the goals just haven’t flowed for the striker like they once did at Stars.

“I joined Henri Michel’s team [at Sundowns] in the middle of the 2009 season and was used a lot as a substitute,” Sibisi said. “At the end of the season Muhsin Ertugral said he was interested in having me at Ajax and told me he would give me game time.

“I went to Ajax on a swap deal with Mabhudi Khenyeza, and Muhsin did use me a lot before he left to take a job in Turkey. [Current Ajax coach Foppe] De Haan was using me too.

“But my father died in March and I had to return home, and after I went back I wasn’t playing much.”

Playing for a team based in his home province — Sibisi is originally from Ladysmith — could be just the tonic the striker needs to rediscover his scoring form. After being used wide at times at Ajax, United coach Ernst Middendorp has utilised Sibisi in something closer to a classic centre-forward role.

“I think I am settling in at Maritzburg. I’m enjoying myself and I want to stay here,” the striker said.

• Tickets for United’s PSL game against SuperSport United on Wednesday are on sale at SuperSave in Retief Street and and the club offices at 397 Victoria Road. The first 300 sold will include a free ticket for the quarter-final against Sundowns.

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