Rusike an ideal replacement for Malajila

2016-03-16 06:00
PHOTO: sourced Maritzburg United striker Evans Rusike

PHOTO: sourced Maritzburg United striker Evans Rusike

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MARITZBURG United seem to have finally found a replacement for striker Cuthbert Malajila in Evans Rusike.

The Zimbabwean hitman has scored five goals this season, and is the The Team of Choice’s second highest goalscorer after skipper Kurt Lentjies, who has found the back of the net seven times. And coach Ernst Middendorp is sure he has finally replaced Malajila.

Bizarrely, Rusike initially found it hard to get into the first team earlier in the season under Mandla Ncikazi, and was played sporadically by Clive Barker, which is something that baffled Middendorp.

“I saw him in training and to me it was very clear that he was a player who had to be given confidence and support. He was here for a long time and he didn’t receive any support,” Middendorp said after training at Carter High School recently.

Rusike’s movement off the ball, and with it at his feet, has impressed many during the time he has been given a free role to roam across the front of the pitch, and so has his ability to beat defenders, creating chances for those around him.

“He’s given his all and has shown what type of striker he is, probably one of the most qualified in the league, I have no doubt about that. Not only his scoring, but how he is moving off the ball. We’ve worked on it,” he said.

Club captain Lentjies added that Rusike’s recent form was giving them a boost as they attempted to climb out from the bottom of the league table, adding that the entire team had to improve and supply him with passes and put chances away.

“We just have to supply him with good passes so he can do what he needs to do.

“He’s been a plus for us, but everyone is adding their value into the team,” the skipper said.

The soft spoken Rusike was happy he was playing games and scoring goals, but was not entirely satisfied with how 2016 had gone so far for the club.

“I’m happy with my form right now, but I’d be happier if I was scoring and we were winning games,” he said, adding that he believed that the club will soon be picking up maximum points regularly.

The Team of Choice face Golden Arrows­ in a crucial KZN derby on Friday­, and a win will do wonders for Middendorp and his team.

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