‘United must not become complacent’

2014-10-30 00:00

THE sun was out yesterday, shining down on Harry Gwala Stadium as Maritzburg United continued their preparations for two massive home fixtures over the next week.

It starts tomorrow night, when Steve Komphela’s Team of Choice host a struggling University of Pretoria before they welcome former coach Ernst Middendorp and his erratic Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday night.

Sitting third on the PSL log at the moment, having scored more goals than anybody else in the league, the prospect of collecting six points from these next two home matches is one that has the potential to both motivate and intimidate United.

On paper and form, they should be too strong for Tuks tomorrow night, but Komphela has been around the block enough times to know that complacency becomes an issue when a side is performing well.

“All that we’re trying to manage is the psyche and the mentality of the players — that they should not be complacent. From a technical and tactical perspective, we are still on point. The only thing we need to manage is the mental aspect,” Komphela said yesterday.

If United are able to bag maximum points from their next two outings, they will solidify their position in the top four on the table, after more than a third of the season completed — an achievement few thought possible at the start of the campaign.

“If you manage it properly, then that is the motivation. But if it is not well managed, then it becomes a distraction,” Komphela told The Witness.

“These are two matches at home that we have to get six points from based on the track record. If we can get to December with a minimum of 20 points, and then get around 25 in the second half, then that puts you in that top-four bracket.”

Fighting for a top four spot is not something that Maritzburg are accustomed to, and the pre-season target of a top-eight finish would secure the best league finish in the club’s history if it were achieved.

Captain Ashley Hartog sat out of training yesterday on the advice from team medics, who suggested that he needed a rest, but he is expected to come into contention tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, centre-back Kwanda Mngonyama is suspended for the clash, meaning that John Paintsil and Mohamed Awal are likely to marshal the United defence.

Komphela acknowledged that training on Monday morning had been difficult after the shocking news that Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa had lost his life so tragically on Sunday night.

“Senzo comes from KZN. Most of us have worked with Senzo closely, and some are friends with him, so it was very difficult.

“You could feel the energy. Everybody was down,” Komphela said.

“Is life so cheap that just a pull of a trigger can end a career like that? It’s painful. He was on top of his game.”

Tomorrow night’s match kicks off at 8 pm and will not be televised.



8 pm — Moroka Swallows v Platinum Stars, Maritzburg United v University of Pretoria.


6 pm — AmaZulu v Black Aces.

8.15 pm — Mamelodi Sundowns v Free State Stars, Polokwane City v Chippa United.


3.30 pm — Ajax Cape Town v SuperSport United, Bloemfontein Celtic v Wits.

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