Defence remains key for United

2018-01-16 11:26
Maritzburg United defender Siyanda Xulu.

Maritzburg United defender Siyanda Xulu. (Gallo Images)

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Maritzburg United currently boast the best defensive record in the Absa Premiership after 16 matches, but defender Siyanda Xulu insists it will count for nothing come Wednesday night when they host SuperSport United at Harry Gwala Stadium.

The Team of Choice have proved to be defensively disciplined since the start of the campaign, having conceded just nine goals in the league so far. The Pietermaritzburg-based outfit routed Bloemfontein Celtic 4-0 last Friday to move up two places on the log, with Pogiso Sanoka, Mohau Mokate, Andrea Fillecia and Evans Rusike all contributing a goal.

Although their defence is often overlooked, including the time when they endured a slump, the Midlands side have remained solid at the back, but 26-year-old centre-back Xulu put their impressive defensive displays down to discipline and team unity.

Speaking to The Witness on Monday, he said it’s testament to the organised brand of football that they have been playing under the watchful eye of head coach Fadlu Davids.

He said: “I think it’s really been incredible being a part of this team. It’s not really about the defence or the midfield or any particular department in the team. It’s the kind of football that we have been playing and staying consistent in our performances. We are a very young team with a lot of potential and I think what’s really kept us going is staying united, especially in bad times.

“It’s also great winning with such big scores at home. Most of our wins have been away. We obviously haven’t reached our peak when it comes to what we are capable of. But, we just have to keep moving.”

The Durban-born defender, who joined United from Kaizer Chiefs at the beginning of the season, has been an important member of the club’s last line of defence, comprising of Pogiso Sanoka, Bevan Fransman and recently-departed Denis Wieldich.

He has made 18 appearances across all competitions, including three Cup games, scoring one goal in the process.

Wieldich recently joined Bidvest Wits in a swap involving defender Bokang Tlhone, who is ruled out for at least two months with a knee injury he suffered during a friendly match with his former club.

Davids’ men have kept almost 10 clean sheets this season, with formidable Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori making a number of solid saves in goal.

Xulu said they would approach Wednesday’s game against SuperSport in the usual fashion. “It’s still a long journey. We have to stay grounded and, as the coach has been warning us, to guard against complacency. We just need to continue playing as a unit and take a lesson from what we went through when the season started ...”

Kick-off tomorrow is at 7.30 pm.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg united

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