United face tough tie in KZN derby

2012-03-17 00:00

MARITZBURG United can expect a tough encounter when they meet KwaZulu-Natal rivals Golden Arrows in a PSL encounter in KwaMashu tonight, attacking midfielder Prince Olomu has said.

Olomu scored United’s first goal in their valuable 2-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday night, but the 25-year-old Nigerian is not getting carried away.

“It is always nice to score, but the important thing is that we got the three points that we needed,” he told Weekend Witness yesterday. “The confidence in the squad is high at the moment, but we need to be very careful that we stay focused.”

An experienced PSL campaigner, Olomu is no stranger to provincial derbies and warned his team-mates to expect a difficult time at the Princess Magogo Stadium tonight.

“Derby games are always very tight,” he said. “They can be won by the team that wants it most, and the way things are going now I think that will be us.”

Olomu has been shuffled around the park by Middendorp in recent weeks. He started as a holding midfielder against Celtic in United’s Nedbank Cup win on March 2 before moving into a more attacking role for the league tie against the same opposition on Wednesday.

“It is not difficult to do [change positions],” Olomu said. “We are professionals and I will play wherever the coach wants me to play.”

With workhorse Michael Morton and David Booysen both suspended for tonight’s match after starting together in central midfield on Wednesday, Middendorp will need to form a new partnership in the middle of the park. He is not short on options and can ask Olomu to sit deeper, while the services of Chillies Madondo, JB Ncubeni, Kurt Lentjies and newcomer Shane Poggenpoel could all be used in the quarterback role.

“We will miss Michael [Morton] massively. He is a player with a very high workrate,” Olomu conceded. “But it gives somebody else an opportunity in that position.”

One win in their last seven league encounters has seen Arrows slip to 14th place, three points above the dreaded relegation/promotion play-off spot occupied by Leopards. But coach Mushin Ertugral’s men will be buoyed by the fact that United have not won on the road this season.

For Olomu, all that matters is a top eight finish. “That is still our goal and we believe that we are capable of achieving it,” he said.

Striker Diyo Sibisi is expected to return to the starting line-up today after being rested for the midweek duel with Celtic. Tonight’s match kicks off at 6 pm and will not be televised.


Today: Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs; Wits v FS Stars; Ajax Cape Town v Mamelodi Sundowns; Golden Arrows v Maritzburg Utd; Moroka Swallows v AmaZulu; SuperSport United v Jomo Cosmos

Tomorrow: Black Leopards v Platinum Stars; Bloem Celtic v Santos

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