Tinkler optimistic

2019-02-27 15:13
Maritzburg United are continuing to assess the condition of key defender and captain Brian Onyango ahead of Friday’s crucial Absa Premiership visit by AmaZulu.

Maritzburg United are continuing to assess the condition of key defender and captain Brian Onyango ahead of Friday’s crucial Absa Premiership visit by AmaZulu. (Gallo Images)

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It is yet another massive week for Maritzburg United as they continue their quest to steer to Absa Premiership safety when they host their inconsistent provincial rivals AmaZulu on Friday.

The “Team of Choice” remain at the bottom of the league standings with a measly 14 points from 21 matches — five points adrift of their nearest rivals Free State Stars, and that from a game extra.

With nine fixtures to go, the local club are treading on thin ice and there is no second chance, according to coach Eric Tinkler who will be counting on their “Blue Army” of fans to be their 12th man.

His team have only registered two victories this term, against Bloemfontein Celtic in the first half of the season and Polokwane City in the second half, losing on 11 occasions and drawing eight times.

But since the 48-year-old tactician’s appointment there has been a slight improvement in terms of performances, but managed just three points from his three matches in charge.

There is a mood of optimism, he feels.

They come into the provincial derby on the back of a controversial 3-2 defeat to Cape Town City, although he felt his men left the Mother City with more positives than negatives despite the outcome.

“There is definitely an improvement. We are showing more urgency on the ball and as you saw against Cape Town City we played more to the instruction.

“We look to get forward. We look to play and create opportunities. We are scoring goals now which is a plus. But obviously we would have preferred to have left Cape Town with something,’’ said Tinkler, who was left unimpressed with some of the match officials’ decisions.

Now with a tough visit from the Cavin Johnson-coached team from Durban next on the menu, also coming from a humbling 4-1 defeat to Orlando Pirates, Tinkler knows they have some work to do.

He also has to deal with the fact that young centre-back Rushine de Reuck is out for their next two matches for picking up a red card on the weekend, while his defensive partner Brian Onyango undergoes a scan on his injured groin.

Kick-off on Friday is at 8 pm.

Meanwhile, Sport24 reports that footage has emerged of Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy involved in a shocking brawl in the players’ tunnel after a heated Maritzburg United clash on Saturday.

During the feisty 3-2 win for the Citizens at Athlone Stadium, footage of an earlier incident showed McCarthy and a member of the Maritzburg United staff getting into a heated exchange.

The former Bafana Bafana striker can be seen shoving the staff member before motioning that they would finish what they had started in the tunnel after the final whistle.

McCarthy was believed to be outraged by rough tackles on his players from their opponents, leading to him retaliating against the Maritzburg bench.

Further footage has now sensationally shown that McCarthy kept true to his word with players and both sets of coaching staff being involved in a physical altercation.

McCarthy can be seen physically pushing a Maritzburg staff member before being held back and escorted out of the tunnel by City players and staff.

Maritzburg managing director chairperson Farook Kadodia to The Witness the regrettable drama in the tunnel had stemmed from an on-field incident before the end of the regulation time. “We then told the match commissioner to apply his mind to the matter with regard to possible reporting to the PSL because he had seen everything for himself,” Kadodia said on Tuesday without wanting to elaborate.

Only time will tell whether the PSL will take action.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg united
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