Maritzburg United

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Published 22 November 2019

UNITED FIRED UP FOR TKO CHALLENGE
     
   
 

The Maritzburg United contingent are ready to give everything they have to come away victorious from Sunday's Telkom Knockout (TKO) semi-final encounter against Kaizer Chiefs.

     
 

 

The match takes place at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga and is scheduled to kick off at 3pm.

 

With a place in the 2019 TKO final up for grabs – set to take place in Durban – and with the opportunity to go head-to-head with South African soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs, little motivation will be needed for Sunday’s showdown.

 

“The intensity at training has been extremely good, which shows that everybody wants to try and get into that 18-man squad, which is what you want,” said Team of Choice head coach Eric Tinkler.

 

Both teams reached the semi-final by winning consecutive ties on penalties, with Chiefs seeing off Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates and Maritzburg accounting for Bidvest Wits and then Highlands Park.

 

Chiefs though have been in unstoppable form in the league and lead the standings by 10 points; there’s no question that the Team of Choice will be underdogs in Nelspruit this weekend.

 

“We know how strong they are, they’re having a great season,” coach Eric underlined. “We know their confidence is very high, but we need to go there and be brave and not play with fear.

“They’re playing very different to last season, a very different team…A lot of new faces. [Samir] Nurkovic has brought something very different. I think they’re a more direct team now than what they were in the past. Because of the height Nurkovic and [Leonardo] Castro gives them up front.”

 

While looking for a bit more bite up front, coach Eric cautioned however that United must still remain resilient in defence.

 

“We’re winning matches but we’re not scoring many goals,” he pointed out. “We’ve got ourselves into this phase of the tournament due to our hard work defensively. So that becomes very important against a team like Chiefs, defensively you need to be solid.

 

“But obviously we want to work on our offensive play, we need to try and capitalise on whatever mistakes they might make, on the fact that they may have a central defensive pairing that has not played together.

 

“But they study us the same way – they’ll also look at our weaknesses and strengths, it’s just a case of who applies it in the right way on the day.”

 

Whichever way one looks at this TKO showdown, it's set up to be a cracking encounter on Sunday - and the coach is forecasting exactly that.

“Kaizer Chiefs no matter where they play, it’s a home game. I like the Mbombela Stadium, from the last game I saw being played there, SuperSport, the surface looked great.

 

“It helps us with the brand of football which we want to play, and obviously it will also help them – so I think it will be a very entertaining match.”

 

The Team of Choice will be chasing their first win over the Glamour Boys since March 2015.

 

The other semi-final is on Saturday between Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns.





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