Maritzburg United

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Published: 19 April

XULU: NO SECRET WE WANT TO MAKE THE FINAL
 
 
 


There was a steely resolution about Maritzburg United defender Siyanda Xulu ahead of Sunday’s Nedbank Cup semi-final showdown with Mamelodi Sundowns at the Harry Gwala Stadium (3pm).

   
 

The versatile defender has brought presence, composure and tenacity to the Team of Choice backline this season, his first at the club.

 

Although still only 26-years-old, he has an abundance of experience – at previous clubs Sundowns, Rostov (Russia) and Kaizer Chiefs, and Xulu has emerged as one of the leaders and more senior figures in a youthful team.

 

He scored an 89th minute winner in the 2-1 victory over Royal Eagles in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup and has played 26 of 27 league matches, scoring a further two goals.

 

Now Xulu hopes to cap a fine season by helping United book their spot in the final, although he knows well what they’ll be up against.

 

“We’re expecting a very tough game obviously. It’s never easy against Sundowns, but we want to show that we’re the best, and to be the best, you have to beat the best. We are playing at home, we want to win the cup, it’s no secret that we want to be in the final.

 

“They are one of the top sides, not only in South Africa, but in Africa. So we have to respect them, but we want the result, we’re at home and want to go to the final,” he stated.



Maritzburg have the joint best defensive record in the league, just 18 conceded in 27 matches, and have also been amongst the goals of late up front.

 

And while they will face pressure from the likes of Percy Tau, Gaston Sirino, Themba Zwane and Khama Billiat on Sunday, Xulu says it’s important that United back themselves to do what’s been working for them throughout much of the season.

 

“What we will try and do is stick to our plan, do what we have done through the season and that is to focus on ourselves, playing the way we train. And whatever comes in the game, we have to deal with that.

 

“I don’t think much has to be changed with our defensive approach,” he continued, “we’re one of the best defensive sides in the league. Yes Sundowns are a very good side, we have to show them respect and plan for them, but I don’t think much will change on our side.

 

“Unfortunately in football the past does not count. We can’t think because we beat them in Pretoria (1-0 in the MTN8 last August), now we’ll have the upper hand, that’s not the case.

 

“Sundowns are scoring goals, they are a very well-oiled machine. But we’ve also been doing well, scoring goals, we have been defending well too. It’s going to be a hell of a 90 minutes.”


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