The Team of Choice host Abafana Bes’thende at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick off), in their final league match of the season, with the Nedbank Cup final still to come a week later.
If Kaizer Chiefs fail to beat Ajax Cape Town in their game and United earn victory over Arrows, the Pietermaritzburg club will finish above Amakhosi in third place and qualify the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup.
That’s one factor to take into consideration. Another is the untimely passing of Luyanda Ntshangase last week, with a memorial service for the talented young striker having been held on Thursday this week.
Fransman says though that the players will be galvanised to go out and perform for their late friend and team-mate's memory.
“I don’t see it as a distraction, I see it as a motivation – playing for Luyanda’s memory, and to finish the season off strong. We had two players passing in a year, and another one before that (Mlondi Dlamini and Mondli Cele)…It’s unheard of in a squad. But the guys are resilient and I don’t doubt they will be giving their all come Saturday.
“If results go our way, we’re one game away from a CAF position. Yes if you win the Cup final you still qualify for CAF, but we would rather get it done before the final and play with less pressure.”
Maritzburg have claimed seven points from their three derby matches this season and are hoping to take that tally to double figures, although Fransman is wary of the threat posed by the Durban team, coached by former United mentor Clinton Larsen.
“Arrows are a good side, don’t let their position on the log fool anybody. And a derby is a derby, you are playing for the pride of the province. We managed to pull two over AmaZulu, a draw against Arrows, so far so good and we have to continue. They are playing with three up front, they have shown they can be dangerous.”
In closing, the skipper admits he is hoping for a favour from his hometown club.
“Ajax will give it their all, they are literally playing for their lives and won’t take defeat lying down. So we just have to hope they can do us a favour, but all we can do is do our job and get the three points against Arrows.”
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