The Team of Choice host the Limpopo-based club at the Harry Gwala Stadium this Saturday, for what is the final match of the 2018/19 Play-Offs.
Maritzburg have of course already secured their Absa Premiership status for next season, following a 2-0 victory over Royal Eagles on Wednesday.
Club chairman Farook Kadodia is now keen for United to put on a memorable and entertaining performance at home on Saturday, as a way to show their appreciation for the wonderful support the team has received.
“On Saturday we need to thank the fans of Pietermaritzburg, they have been great to us. We had four home wins (out of six games) under coach Eric Tinkler, the supporters played a huge role,” Kadodia said.
“My dream was to win against Eagles and for the players to play freely on Saturday, to show the fans their quality and score goals and tell the fans thank you.”
Coach Eric’s arrival at the end of January proved to be pivotal in United’s successful escape act. There were some ups and downs along the way, but ultimately, the former Bafana Bafana midfielder said he always felt that the right structures were in place to avoid the drop.
“I looked at the squad, I watched one or two games (before joining the club). And then I said, ‘this squad can survive’.
“Was it a risk? I don’t think it was a risk. Because like I said, I’ve come to a very established, well organised, well run football club,” Tinkler said.
“Historically not many PSL clubs survive the Play-Offs, that was always the danger, I think what happens is you drop your level as a PSL team. It was important to remind the players not to drop their level because then it comes 50-50.
“Which is why I was so proud of the players, they were professional in terms of their application and their attitudes.”
Now, as testament to his competitive and professional nature, he wants the Team of Choice to end the season with a bang – as this would help set the tone for the 2019/ 20 campaign, which is already just around the corner.
“We want to win against TTM. Like I said to the players, we are looking to create a winning mentality at the club.
“The club has never won three games in a row and now we have achieved that. We’ve gone seven games without a loss, we can go win that game…and then let’s not forget, we come back in three weeks time (for pre-season). That’s the problem with the Play-Offs, you lose two weeks of your holiday.
“You want to restart on a positive, knowing we finished strong. Maybe one or two players will get a rest for Saturday, but we would like to be the first team that won all four play-off games, that’s never happened.”