Heading into Saturday afternoon’s Nedbank Cup quarterfinal showdown with Celtic at the Harry Gwala Stadium (15H30 kick off), the Team of Choice have already played Phunya Sele Sele twice in the league.
The first round tie ended in a 1-0 away defeat for Maritzburg, before the Pietermaritzburg side exacted their revenge with a 4-0 win in January at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
But the nature of cup football, and Celtic’s likely desire for their own revenge, would make it misleading preparation to look at that most recent victory.
“It’s a tough draw,” says coach Fadlu. “Like I said, they should have beaten us by six goals over there (in Bloemfontein). What makes it difficult is that we beat them 4-0 here, and for a team that lost here, they are going to come out all guns blazing.
“We don’t have defenders, we have to look and see which options and which formations we will go with to sort out the back.”
Coach Fadlu was referring to the absence of Bevan Fransman and Pogiso Sanoka through suspension, while Brian Onyango is out injured.
This could likely mean a start for Rushine de Reuck, Maritzburg’s promising development product who has carefully been introduced into the first team fray this season, having made seven substitute appearances and two starts.
Speaking on Rushine’s last showing, in the 2-1 win over Polokwane City in the league, coach Fadlu was delighted with the character he showed and believes this should stand the 22-year-old in good stead in the months and years ahead.
“He made a mistake early on, but how he bounced back – that really shows maturity for a young man, to be able to be brave, and to get back into the rest of the game. Absolutely fantastic – I’m so proud of him, to come back the way he did, to have a performance like he did.
“We know his quality, we’ve only seen glimpses of him, touches of his quality. There’s so much more potential, we see it in training. Once he fully believes in himself, he will be one hell of a player. “
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