City soccer’s choicest day

2018-04-23 16:15
Maritzburg United players (from left) Bandile Shandu, Lebohang Maboe and Fortune Makaringe celebrate during the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday.

Maritzburg United players (from left) Bandile Shandu, Lebohang Maboe and Fortune Makaringe celebrate during the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday. (Gallo Images)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Maritzburg United’s dream season rolls on — and their ‘Blue Army’ of vocal fans could not be happier!

With thousands of these fans chanting “Awuzwe nje!”, which means “Now you feel me!” in English, and fired-up coaches also driving them on, United’s youthful and energetic team created club history on Sunday by reaching the final of the Nedbank Cup.

It will be United’s first appearance in any Cup final since the modest Midlands club started playing top-flight football in 2005, thanks to a character-laden 3-1 win over more-fancied Mamelodi Sundowns of Pretoria at a warm Harry Gwala Stadium.

This created a great day for sport in Pietermaritzburg and also lifted football fans’ spirits after crowd violence erupted in Durban the previous night when Kaizer Chiefs lost 2-0 to Free State Stars in the other Nedbank Cup semi-final.

The final will take place on May 19 in Cape Town.

In a festival atmosphere at the council-owned stadium on Sunday, United conceded an early goal but showed great resolve to end up winners, making their fans deliriously happy in the process.

United managing director and club chairperson Farook Kadodia was also over the moon and said it was easily the happiest day in his club’s history.

“Most definitely, this is a great day for the club. Before this, the happiest day was the spectacular way in which we avoided relegation two seasons ago in a match against Jomo Cosmos. Since that day, we have, fortunately, managed to turn things around and today’s win is a culmination of the hard work we have been doing.

“I’m very proud of what coach Fadlu Davids has done for the club. He has been a very loyal person and most of the time he has gotten his tactics spot on this season.

“And, the players showed real character to come back from a goal down today and beat a top team like Sundowns. We are also thankful to the fans for all their support.”

Club chairperson Farook Kadodia celebrates the historic win.

Kadodia said he hoped that the Msunduzi Municipality and the provincial government, as well as competition sponsors, would help them ferry as many supporters as possible to the final, since Maritzburg were going to be representing the whole of KwaZulu-Natal, a province that seldom had teams playing in Cup finals.

“We will try to arrange up to 20 buses to take our fans to the final in Cape Town, even though it won’t be cheap and it’s quite a distance away, which could mean some of the fans having to miss work because of the amount of time spent travelling,” he explained after hugging all the players and coach Davids.

Like Kadodia, the fans were in an extremely jubilant mood, with some saying they were planning to paint Cape Town blue.

Fans urge their team on at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday. 

Bradley Balkisson and his son Corde from Glenwood in the City expressed their joy at seeing United stun mighty Sundowns, the former African champions.

Said Corde: “I’m feeling ecstatic. I’m actually surprised as I never thought Maritzburg could win like that and beat such a big team. I was terrified for them when Sundowns scored the first goal. I love watching [Siphesihle]Ndlovu play.”

Boni Khumalo from KwaShange and Hlengiwe Thabethe from KwaQanda said it was certainly a great day for the club after a number of setbacks down the years.

Nick Cloete from the city said: “Great game. Absolutely fantastic. Good spirit. Good determination from the boys to come from behind and still get two more goals in the second half. Absolutely brilliant.”

Stori Basi from Hammarsdale said: “I’m very happy. I’m definitely going to the final in Cape Town.”

Paul Lutchman said: “I told you we were already preparing to go to Cape Town. The team deserves it. They worked hard to get here. This tells you where this club is going.”

Indeed, ambitious United and their loyal Blue Army have not experienced a better day.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg united

Inside News24


Matric Results are coming soon!

Notify me when results become available

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.