MARITZBURG TURN THEIR FOCUS TO THE CUP
5 February 2020
Maritzburg United are keen to go on an exciting run in the Nedbank Cup, but will need to be at their best to overcome an improved Stellenbosch FC in Friday night’s last 32 encounter.
The Team of Choice will face the rookie PSL club for the second time at the Athlone Stadium this season, the previous league match back in August having ended 0-0.
United have reached two cup finals in the last two years – the Nedbank Cup final in 2018 and the Telkom Knockout in 2019, and it’s no surprise the players are relishing this latest opportunity to challenge for silverware, as winger Mxolisi Kunene explains:
“It’s an important game to us as it’s the last cup competition of the season,” he said.
“We are ready and looking forward to playing them. Even though it’s an away game, we are hoping to get the win - our away record is not that bad, so I think we will come back with the result.”
The Team of Choice lost their most recent away fixture, 1-2 against Baroka FC. But before that, they were on a run of three wins and four draws from their previous seven matches outside of Pietermaritzburg.
United will however be wary of last season’s result in the last 32, when they lost on penalties away at Witbank Spurs.
At that stage of the season, a year ago, they also had league concerns to worry about, with relegation potentially looming large.
A more stable league campaign this time around however will mean that Maritzburg can approach Friday’s match against the Winelands-based side in a more positive frame of mind.
“We are in a situation that we can take the game very seriously. If we were sitting at the bottom (of the league), I would think twice,” said head coach Eric Tinkler.
“We’re sitting in a situation where we’re doing well in the league. The most important thing is to keep the consistency – to keep that winning mentality.”