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The Absa Premiership match takes place at the King Zwelithini Stadium at 19H30, with the Team of Choice looking to continue their good recent record in the league, having beaten Bloemfontein Celtic in their most recent game after draws against title contenders Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs before that.
We bring you the thoughts of Maritzburg head coach Fadlu Davids ahead of the eagerly-anticipated showdown.
“It’s the second season now with their coach (Cavin Johnson), and you can see the structure he has put in. They are a formidable side, a very exciting side. We saw it against Sundowns (in a 3-3 draw), very unlucky to draw the game 3-3. Two set pieces against Chiefs and they lost the game, so they are a fantastic side, they made the top eight last season categorically.”
UNITED’S SLOW START TO THE SEASON
Maritzburg have picked things up nicely with five points from their last three matches, including three clean sheets. So why did it take a little time for them to get going?
“When you have a season like last season,” coach Fadlu explained, “players getting praise throughout the off-season, throughout of last season, its normal to unconsciously give 10 percent less.
“They don’t do it on purpose, but there comes a time when you think you are better than you are, and don’t remember what got you there, and that is the hard work.
“As soon as they start believing that hard work is what got you there, and start putting it in [the results will come]. Hard work is definitely the recipe for the last three matches , the determination to want to achieve more, and that is why ultimately we got our season kick started.”
Front pair Yannick Zakri and Andrea Fileccia have the makings of a fine combination, but need a bit of time to develop their understanding.
“You need matches: to play different opposition, to play a team that defends zonally, a team that defends man to man,” said Maritzburg’s mentor. “Our forward players need more matches together. “There is no time frame, its just about training and getting used to the running patterns, the movement.
“If Zakri is coming short, everybody knows he wants the ball behind, or he’s making a movement to the left, we know he favours his right. That’s the non-verbal communication that happens on the pitch all the time.
“We had it last season with Ndlovu, Makaringe, Maboe, Shandu in midfield. They didn’t have to talk, it was just natural movements that they learnt over the season.
“That is what we need to create now, with new players in, new structure up front, blending last season’s players with the new players to then be able to create a new team.”
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