In-form Maritzburg United players visit Sukuma High

2018-02-28 06:00
PHOTO: nondumiso zakweSukuma High School’s soccer team was the latest school side to receive coaching and mentoring from Maritzburg United players this week.

PHOTO: nondumiso zakweSukuma High School’s soccer team was the latest school side to receive coaching and mentoring from Maritzburg United players this week.

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MARITZBURG United want to make the 2017/18 Absa Premiership season a memorable one, with head coach Fadlu Davids targeting a minimum of four wins from their remaining nine matches.

A run of good form has seen the Team of Choice move up to fifth on the log table, just seven points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

This follows an impressive 2-0 win over KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu at home last Friday. Davids’ men are among the highest scoring teams in the league, with 25 goals, and they remain solid at the back too, letting in just 13 goals in 21 outings. Ahead of Platinum Stars’ visit to Harry Gwala Stadium this Friday, the 36-year-old tactician said keeping level headed would be the key to further success.

“Yes, it’s nine games to go and 27 points [on offer]. Hopefully 40 points is enough this season [for a top-eight finish], but perhaps with the teams so bunched, you might need 43. I think we’re on track so far, anyway,” he said yesterday. “If we go through our targets, we’re still a few points behind because of the eight-game run without a win [earlier in the season] which put us back to some degree. But since our win against Cape Town City [in Durban in January] we have really clicked.

We have kept to our style and structure.” The Roger de Sa-coached Platinum Stars haven’t enjoyed the best of seasons and remain rock-bottom.

Meanwhile, the Midlands club continued their drive to inspire the city’s youth by hosting a coaching clinic at Sukuma High School in Imbali yesterday.

Players who attended the session included second-choice goalkeeper Bongani Mpandle, midfielders Mxolisi Kunene and Fortune Makaringe, as well as Glenwood-born Sandile Dlamini, who plays for Maritzburg’s Multichoice Diski Challenge team.

Grade 11 pupil Basanda Buthelezi (17), a fullback for the school’s football team, said: “I’m really stoked. I have never imagined that I would get to see my childhood idol Makaringe and learn a few tricks from him. “They told us to stay grounded and focused.”

In 2015, the Imbali school won the KwaZulu-Natal section of the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup with the help of late Maritzburg midfielder Mlondi Dlamini, who went on to win the Player of the Season in the Kay Motsepe League.

The school’s coach, Xolani Mpungose, was happy to see Maritzburg at his school. He said: “It’s a commendable initiative. It’ll inspire the youngsters and motivate them, not just to do well in sports.” Mpungose said the school was also proud to have produced professional footballers such as Lindokuhle Zondi at SuperSport United and Lindokuhle Sithole who was recently promoted to the Maritzburg first team.

Meanwhile, Sundowns played host to Free State Stars at Loftus Versfeld yesterday evening.

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