The match kicks off at 19H30 and sees the Team of Choice returning to action after a break of more than two weeks due to the international fixture window.
This has given head coach Fadlu Davids and the technical team the opportunity to work on some shortcomings, with goal-scoring top of that list, as Shandu explains:
“We’ve been working hard on trying to rectify our mistakes, we’ve watched a lot of our games and we’ve been analysing ourselves and trying to improve accordingly.
“Defensively we’ve been doing well, so it was mainly scoring goals, putting the ball in the back of net that has been an area of concern. So we’ve been practising our finishing as a team. In terms of how we’ve been playing overall, we have not been playing badly, we have actually been playing quite well, just not putting the ball in the back of the net.”
As Shandu points out though, desperation for victory won’t help United’s cause; the players need to back themselves and take chances when they come.
“We want to win at home, but we can’t put too much pressure on ourselves, that won’t help us achieve our objective,” he said. “Like the coach says, we must do the right thing, follow instructions, and the results will take care of themselves.
“So we will try enjoy the game, do what is expected of us, follow the tactics and instructions and then we should end up with the three points.
“We just need that win which will kick our season off and hopefully see us going on a positive run. With the table being so tight, you know, two or three wins and you’re in the top eight.”
Maritzburg are currently lying 15th, with eight points, while the Chilli Boys are 13th, on nine points, and as such, both clubs will be ready to sweat blood in order to secure victory.
“It’s a very important match for both of us, the team which gets three points is going to move up away from the relegation zone, which for both sides is very important and why this is going to be a tough game,” Shandu pointed out.
“Chippa is a team who should not be underestimated, they have a good coach with quality players, so we should not take anything for granted.
“We are aware of where we are on the table and we are aware of the pressure that comes with that. But if we stick together as a team, we are going to move away from the foot of the table.
“We know that we will not automatically be able to produce the form we showed last season and that we have to work even harder, because teams are analysing us, reading how we play and how we move,” he added.
Last season the two clubs played to two draws: 1-1 in Pietermaritzburg and 0-0 in Port Elizabeth. In the overall head-to-head record, the Team of Choice can take heart from their four wins, five draws and just a single defeat, back in 2015, against the Eastern Cape team.
Another positive for Maritzburg has been their improved goal-scoring record of late, with six goals having been notched in their last four outings in league and cup.
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