United aim to take break on a high

2012-12-12 00:00

STADIUM management have said that they are expecting around 25 000 people to attend Friday night’s PSL clash between Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg United at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The match is the first of three home fixtures that United will play in “The Windy City” this season.

With United just about sick of referee Victor Gomes, the PSL will surely appoint another referee for Friday night’s fixture.

Gomes has gotten on the wrong side of the United players and management after sending off centreback Mohamed Awal, biokineticist Burger van der Merwe and assistant coach Ronnie Kanalelo in United’s last two fixtures, which have both been lost (against Platinum Stars and Ajax Cape Town).

However, United coach Ernst Middendorp, while understandably annoyed at having been assigned the same referee for two matches in such quick succession, argues that there is a grave inconsistency in refereeing in general in the PSL.

“We have seen some challenges in some matches that are not blown, but in other matches they are a red card,” the 54-year-old German told The Witness.

Middendorp further suggested that action needed to be taken sooner rather than later if things were to change, adding that a poor refereeing decision could ultimately change the course of a single match and a season.

“We have had many moments when we begin to discuss the standard of refereeing in the league but then we stop after five or six games,” he said. “We need to have a group of people to sit down together; so that we can have everybody’s input on how to solve the problem.”

United and Middendorp must, however, turn their immediate attention to Pirates on Friday night.

With just that match and another at home against the University of Pretoria remaining until the extended Christmas break, the Team of Choice will be looking to bounce back from their two recent defeats and hold onto fourth position on the log in the process.

“We have two games left and maybe we can pick up some more points. If we can hold on to fourth position until the break, then that would be outstanding,” said the coach.

The United squad can look back on a job well done in the first half of the campaign, regardless of the next two results.They will welcome the break from December 19 to February 12. This is to accommodate South Africa’s hosting of the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

United, by choice, have maintained a small squad this season and the rest will give the squad time to recharge the batteries ahead of the run in.

Friday night’s match kicks off at 8 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.

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