Maritzburg stars claim to be ready for tricky Cape Town encounter

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Dan Morgan training at Maritzburg United.
Dan Morgan training at Maritzburg United.
Nigel Naicker

Maritzburg United may have struggled for football fluency at the weekend, but Dan Morgan and Travis Graham nevertheless claimed on Tuesday that their relegation-threatened team “are ready to go to Cape Town and get maximum points” from their DStv Premiership assignment on Wednesday.

The defender from New Zealand and holding midfielder from the Cape will be joining their team-mates in trying to bounce back from their lousy 1-0 defeat to Tshakhuma in Limpopo on Saturday when they lock horns with mid-table Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday evening.

A “three-pointer” is roughly what they need to avoid being chopped in a season which started horribly for the “Team of Choice” but started improving after the appointment of Ernst Middendorp in November for a fourth coaching spell at the Midlands club.

“It is going to be a challenging one going to Cape Town to play a good side. We have three ‘cup finals’ left in the season and this is the first one, but the boys are ready to go to Cape Town and get maximum points.”
Maritzburg United midfielder, Travis Graham.

The experienced Morgan and slightly younger Graham gave the impression on Tuesday that they weren’t too troubled by the events in Limpopo, which included Middendorp blowing his top, and that they have prepared well for Wednesday’s test in the Cape.

But they did acknowledge the need for alertness due to the presence of some tricky players in the City line-up.

“This is a super-important match,” said 30-year-old Morgan. “I think the good thing for us is that it (relegation battle) is in our own hands, hence we don’t have to rely on anyone else. So, as long we go out there and get the three points we deserve, and we turn up like we have been, then we will be fine, we will be good to go. “They (City) are a very good team. They like to play.

“They have a lot of athletic ability, like we do as well, but there is only so much you can concentrate on them, because we need to concentrate more on ourselves. We need to do what we do best, get the three points and move on from there.”

Coach Middendorp has most regulars available for selection, but with young striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane not fit to play, there seems to be more game-time available to Judas Moseamedi against his former club in the Mother City.

Said Graham: “We got some vital points to be where we are on the log at the moment, but the season is not over yet. We need to finish the job and make sure we are safe.

“It is going to be a challenging one going to Cape Town to play a good side. We have three ‘cup finals’ left in the season and this is the first one, but the boys are ready to go to Cape Town and get maximum points.”

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City’s recent struggles have been underlined by the sidelining of head tactician Jan Olde Riekerink and goalkeeper’s coach Sjoerd Woudenberg, but they are still on track to finish in the top eight of the standings.

With Mduduzi Mdantsane tops in scoring and fellow midfielder Bradley Ralani tops in assists in their side, the “Citizens” can virtually confirm a finish in the upper half of the 16-team log table by beating Maritzburg on Wednesday. Both teams have endured two losses in their last three games.

Meanwhile, Golden Arrows will look to bolster their impressive position in the top five of the standings when they host TS Galaxy in Wednesday’s other game in Durban. But Mandla Ncikazi’s home side need to bounce back from a four-match winless run.

Galaxy have won two and lost three in their last five assignments.

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