Stars clash a ‘perfect opportunity’ for United to make things right

2017-10-27 10:08
Maritzburg United head coach Fadlu Davids promises his men will be fighting extra hard for victory against Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.

Maritzburg United head coach Fadlu Davids promises his men will be fighting extra hard for victory against Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night. (Galo Images)

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Maritzburg United diehards will hope that the excitement of knockout football will help the team find their scoring boots again.

The Midlands outfit go into Friday’s Telkom Knockout last-16 clash with Platinum Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium without having found the net in their last six games in all competitions.

This has seen them register three draws and three losses across Absa Premiership and MTN8 assignments since last month, with one of the stalemates featuring an own goal by the opposition.

Maritzburg are also up against their former coach Roger de Sa, who is trying to rebuild Platinum Stars after a torrid start to the season.

Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids says his team will be fighting tooth and nail to bag a win and turn their fortunes around.

Speaking to The Witness on Thursday, Davids said: “The mood is upbeat ahead of the game. I think the guys are really excited after the disappointment of not making the final of the MTN8 when we were so close. The players really want to make it right. This is a perfect opportunity.

“We have to win and get to the final. The players are showing hunger, a desire to do it. We owe it to the fans. We’re definitely going to be making some changes in the squad to be able to get the results against Platinum Stars.”

Stars had a really bad start to the campaign and remain in search of their first win to date, but in De Sa’s first two games in charge, they have managed two 1-1 stalemates against Orlando Pirates and a fast improving Free State Stars, which showed signs of improvement.

The cautious 53-year-old tactician will be reminding his charges that Rome was not built in a day but will at the same time expect improvement.

“If we are in the cup, we want to go all the way. You never enter the cup to say let’s just go to the semis or the quarters. In a cup competition, you want to go all the way and win the final. That’s what we are here for,” said De Sa. 

De Sa is aware of the threat posed by his former employers.

“Maritzburg are an exciting young team with a lot of good players that have made the mark this year. They are an exciting team to watch. They like to play a certain system but they are adaptable. They can change while the game is on. They also have the support. They are probably the best supported side in the league as far as home matches are concerned.”

Davids echoed De Sa’s sentiments as far as fans are concerned, urging their faithfuls to turn up in numbers.

“We need them behind us in this cup. We disappointed them the last time and now we have to try and change that,’’ Davids concluded.

Bandile Shandu and Yazid Atouba are both doubtful for the clash with injuries picked up last time out, while Liam Youlley is in line to make his debut after recovering from a knee injury.

In head-to-head stats, United and Stars have met in 23 matches across all competitions since the 2005/6 campaign.

Dikwena have claimed 11 wins compared to the six for United, while eight matches have been drawn.

Stars also hold the advantage in matches played at United.

In 11 matches, they have won five to United’s three, with three games drawn. They have outscored their opponents 30-21 overall.

That being said, Stars have not won any of the last seven meetings between the two sides. In that time there have been three United wins and four draws.

Stars’ last success came in a league clash in March 2014.

When the teams met earlier this season, goals from Deolin Mekoa and Lebohang Maboe gave the PMB club a vital 2-0 away win.

Both coaches have never won the competition, but De Sa has previously reached the final twice with Bidvest Wits and then the Buccaneers in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Kickoff is at 8 pm.

 

TELKOM KNOCKOUT FIXTURES:

Friday

Maritzburg Utd v Platinum Stars — 8 pm

Saturday

Polokwane City v Ajax CT — 3.30 pm

Golden Arrows v Orlando Pirates — 3.30pm

Bloem Celtic v SuperSport Utd — 6 pm

Kaizer Chiefs v AmaZulu — 8.15 pm

Bidvest Wits v FS Stars — 8.15 pm

Sunday

Baroka v CT City — 3.30 pm

Chippa Utd v Sundowns — 3.30 pm

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg united

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