United confident of opening with win

2013-08-02 00:00

TOMORROW’S first game of the PSL season will give Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp an opportunity to gauge where his charges are in their preparation.

After tomorrow’s home clash against Polokwane City at Harry Gwala stadium, the Team of Choice will be out of league action for 25 days as the season shifts into MTN8 action.

“Before we started the pre-season, I said there would be some good moments, and there would be some where we were not so lucky,” Middendorp told The Witness yesterday.

“We are in week seven now, and we are not on the lucky side.”

He said new signings Ashley Hartog and Nhlanhla Vilakazi were out with injuries, while Dutchman Orlando Smeekes was recovering after undergoing knee surgery at the start of June.

Despite the small squad, Middendorp was confident that he had the players for the season opener against the newly promoted Polokwane City.

Middendorp admitted they knew very little about the team from Limpopo.

“They are an unknown. We have seen them play a number of games, and they are a good team. But it is very difficult to know more about them because they have a lot of unknown players.”

He said a team like Mpumalanga Black Aces was easier to study because they had signed well-known players such as Calvin Marlin and Abia Nale, and that was not the case with Polokwane.

“What we have to do is prepare ourselves for the game,” said Middendorp.

He voiced his displeasure at the comparison between Yakubu Mohammad and the departed Cuthbert Malajila.

“He [Mohammad] is 23 years old, and he has his own qualities. I am convinced about him,” he said about the Ghanaian player signed from Ashanti Gold.

Explaining the decision to hand over the captain’s armband to midfielder Michael Morton, Middendorp said: “When we first brought in the player, you could see he was always giving direction in the middle. It is different with a goalkeeper.”

He said Morton was a well-respected member of the squad and had the support of other senior players such as former skipper Shu-Aib Walters, Delron Buckley and Dillon Sheppard.

Tomorrow’s game kicks off at 8.15 pm, and will be televised on SuperSport 4. Tickets for the game are available at R40 for adults and R20 for children.

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