Top eight for United?

2016-07-27 06:00
New Maritzburg United forward Andrea Fileccia is excited about the upcoming season, and believes the team can achieve a top eight finish. PHOTO: ian carbutt

New Maritzburg United forward Andrea Fileccia is excited about the upcoming season, and believes the team can achieve a top eight finish. PHOTO: ian carbutt

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IF new Maritzburg United striker Andrea Fileccia can stay fit, he should score a number of goals for his new club. Well, that is the general belief, anyway.

Last season, the 24-year-old Belgian found the back of the net six times in 11 games for Free State Stars before a serious knee injury against Bloemfontein Celtic in January left him on crutches, requiring him to return home.

The injury saw him miss the second half of the season, leaving him unable to challenge Collins Mbesuma for the Absa Premiership golden boot.

Fileccia, who spent his youth football days on the books of Dutch giants Feyernoord, has been brought to the Team of Choice to complement the attacking abilities of the in-demand Evans Rusike, and told media last week he was up to the challenge.

“I hope that the knee is okay, and on the pitch … The first thing I wish is to be fit for the whole season and play games,” Fileccia, the second Belgian to sign for the club this year, said.

Considering where United found themselves last season, the question “why Maritzburg” was always going to feature, but Fileccia felt the previous campaign was not an issue, saying “the past is the past, and I know coach [Ernst] Middendorp very well”.

“For me, it was not a problem that the team was struggling and fighting for relegation. This year is a new year with new players,” he added.

Fileccia scored the second goal for Free State Stars in their dramatic, smash-and-grab victory - orchestrated by then Ea Lla Koto coach Middendorp - over United at Harry Gwala last season.

Having made the move from the quiet hamlet of Bethlehem in the Free State, Fileccia said he was impressed at the professional nature of United, compared to his old club.

Last season, a lot of coaches and commentators marvelled at how United had been pegged to the foot of the table while not playing the worst football in the league. The number of good players in the side was something Fileccia took note of, and felt that, although they had not been given a set target, they could aim for a place in the top eight.

“We have some good, experienced players and we can play for the top eight.”

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