MARITZBURG United’s management have promised their concerned fans that wins will come shortly and a new addition will be made to coach Eric Tinkler’s strike force before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
They say there’s full support of Tinkler’s strong view that there’s too much quality in their revamped squad for them to fear relegation, while Sundowns and Pirates seek to bounce back from nasty African surprises during the Absa Premiership’s three-match programme tonight.
United are among five clubs who have played two league matches so far without getting a win. Their next opponents in the league in a fortnight, newly-promoted Stellenbosch, are another. Said club boss Farook Kadodia yesterday: “Yes, it was disappointing to lose to Arrows and draw with Highlands Park in our opening games, but anybody who knows a bit about football can tell that we have enough quality in our squad to win matches.
“The players just need to gel, now that all the men we signed recently are available for duty. It looks like the coach and players are happy to settle for a 3-5-2 formation and we have two friendly matches coming up before the trip to Stellenbosch to help with the tactical issues.”
He said the fans would have noted that Tinkler did not have every single squad member available for both fixtures to date for various reasons. For example, key recruits Dan Morgan from New Zealand and attacking midfielder Gabriel Nyoni from Zimbabwe could only play one game each because of paperwork and injury issues respectively.
Further on the transfer front, Kadodia revealed that a potential loan move for Sundowns attacker José Ali Meza had died.
Tinkler commented recently that Meza would be a great link between midfielders and strikers in his team, but Kadodia said yesterday the Venezuelan player could not commit to United, not least because his family wanted him closer to home.
Kadodia quickly added, though, that they had moved to arrange for two unnamed attackers from Ghana and Zimbabwe to come on trial soon to fill one gap remaining in United’s foreign quota. “I can’t release the two players’ names yet and we don’t know exactly when they will be arriving, but we hope it will be soon because we have to assess them and do the necessary paperwork before the window closes at the end of the month,” he explained.
Meanwhile, not many people would have expected Sundowns and Pirates to suffer losses on their visits to Congo and Zambia respectively in the Champions League preliminary round, first leg at the weekend, but that’s what happened and the country’s top two will look to regain composure in tonight’s league assignments.
But Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane’s Brazilians will be challenged to avoid an ambush by Chippa in Port Elizabeth and Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic’s Pirates also have a “toughie” fixture in terms of facing SuperSport United in Pretoria. Sundowns might grant a debut to midfield signing Sammy Seabi from Polokwane City and have not lost to Chippa in 12 league meetings since 2012/13. Pirates have enjoyed just one win in their last five clashes with SuperSport, who are being coached by Kaitano Tembo for the second season running.
The third match today sees Polokwane City entertain Wits in Limpopo, where they have had two wins from two starts.
Chippa v Sundowns — 7.30 pm
Polokwane v Wits — 7.30 pm
SuperSport v Pirates — 7.30 pm
CT City v Polokwane — 3 pm
Pirates v Highlands — 6 pm
Sundowns v Celtic — 8.15 pm
Wits v SuperSport — 3 pm