United: Mandaza likely to partner Malajila against Usuthu

2012-08-16 00:00

WORK permit issues ruled him out of the first game of the season, but new Maritzburg United signing Terrance Mandaza is raring to go, ahead of Tuesday’s PSL clash with AmaZulu at Harry Gwala stadium, and the club are confident they will have the player’s work permit by tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Zimbabwean striker is the logical choice to partner countryman Cuthbert Malajila should coach Ernst Middendorp opt for two strikers on Tuesday — something he is likely to do given the new-found emphasis on the team implementing a more attacking brand of football.

Mandaza is keen to partner Malajila, and he had positive things to say about his team-mate’s performance in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Tuks. “I think he did well as the only striker,” Mandaza told The Witness.

“He made some good runs and had a solid game.”

With Mandaza having to return to Zimbabwe during the pre-season period, overall sharpness remains a concern for him.

“I’m feeling good. I feel like I’m getting towards that point when I know I’m at 100%,” he said. “I’ve been waiting a long time to play and I’m looking forward to it.”

If United are to score goals more freely this season, then they will need to come from players other than Malajila — who was United’s “go to” guy towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

If Mandaza gets off on the right foot on Tuesday, then things will be looking up. It has been a while since the Team of Choice was able to field two strikers in form.

“That is something I pray about and if it happened I would have a lot of confidence moving forward,” said Mandaza of the prospect of scoring on debut. “I’m not thinking about how many goals I can score during the season, I just want to get the first one on the board.”

How the Zimbabweans’ partnership would unfold is yet to be seen. Mandaza is no lightweight He is tall and strong, and Middendorp has the option of instructing him to hold up play and win aerial balls while the speedier Malajila makes runs off of him.

It is a partnership that has a lot of promise, and United fans will be eager to see it progress when their KwaZulu-Natal neighbours visit Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

The match is scheduled to kick off at 7.30 pm and will be televised on SuperSport 4.

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