United gear up to get league back on track

2018-09-19 06:01
PHOTO: galloIvorian Yannick Zakri is set to make his debut for Maritzburg.

PHOTO: galloIvorian Yannick Zakri is set to make his debut for Maritzburg.

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THE goal-shy men of Maritzburg United have not only come through crucial training, but will also have an expanded selection frame when they resume their Absa Premiership campaign this week.

With only one goal and one point to show from three league assignments to date, United welcome log-leading Bidvest Wits to Harry Gwala Stadium at 6 pm on Saturday as part of a full programme of domestic matches this weekend.

Coach Fadlu Davids will be pleased to have recent signing Yannick Zakri ready to make his debut in the team’s attack, as well as central defender Brian Onyango back from a knee problem and key midfielder Fortune Makaringe back from an automatic two-match suspension, the local club have confirmed.

Ivory Coast-born Zakri was linked to Maritzburg for a while during the July-August transfer window, but the two parties only concluded contract negotiations when Davids was finalising preparations for a clash with Kaizer Chiefs in the league at home on August 17.

That game ended in a goalless stalemate despite United having to play with 10 men for most of the proceedings following a red card for young midfielder Siphesihle Ndlovu.

Onyango has not featured in a single match this season due to his injury, while Makaringe sat out the last two games, a Cup loss to Cape Town City and then the Chiefs encounter, due to a red card he picked up during his team’s 2-1 loss at Free State Stars in the league on August 8.

Aside from the positive player-availability developments, Davids has been able to use the recent break in fixtures to come up with a more productive line-up, having registered three losses and a draw in league and knockout football combined since the 2018/19 season kicked off at the beginning of August.

However, the team news is not completely positive, because Keagan Buchanan is going to be out for a long while after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in training.

Ndlovu is the other midfielder not available to face Wits on Saturday, due to an automatic suspension. Said United boss Farook Kadodia yesterday: “Buchanan’s injury is a blow to us as he will be out for months, but the positive thing is that Fadlu has had good time to work with the squad during our long break in fixtures.

“As everybody knows, it is extremely important for us to get our first win of the season before the pressure gets even worse on the log table.”

ABSA PREMIERSHIP FIXTURES/STANDINGS

Saturday

Chippa Utd v Baroka — 3 pm

CT City v Kaizer Chiefs — 3 pm

Maritzburg v Wits — 6 pm

Polokwane City v FS Stars — 8.15 pm

Orlando Pirates v SuperSport Utd — 8.15 pm

Sunday

AmaZulu v Mamelodi Sundowns — 3 pm

Black Leopards v Bloem Celtic — 3 pm

Highlands Park v Golden Arrows — 3 pm

STANDINGS

Team P W L D Pts

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