Saturday saw Maritzburg United once more showing their fighting spirit as they fought back in the KZN derby at the Harry Gwala Stadium to draw 1-1 with Golden Arrows.
The result clinched an historic top four finish for United, who ended the season four points behind Kaizer Chiefs in third spot.
Although head coach Fadlu Davids felt United probably deserved more from the derby, he was happy with the way his men took the game to Abafana bes’thende after going an early goal down.
“We were in control (of the match), but we had one lapse and they scored, the rest of the game it was us knocking and knocking on the door, trying to get the equaliser and then trying to get the winner. Really fantastic grit, not to give up, to really keep going and again the fans pushing us to get that winner,” he said.
Looking back on the league season, it’s certainly one the coach and everyone at the club can be proud of after the team improved by three positions their previous best finish to a season.
“You can’t fault the players and must say well done to them what they have achieved this season….fighting for a top three place with Kaizer Chiefs, that’s abnormal…so Maritzburg United and the players and the board and the chairman can really be proud of the season, it’s been phenomenal.
“Another major factor is the supporters, absolutely fantastic what we have here – it’s something special what we’ve created here,” said coach Fadlu.
The Team of Choice tactician also had words of praise for the province’s two other PSL clubs and believes the future looks bright in the region.
“I’m extremely proud of the KZN teams, really fantastic that all KZN teams are in the top eight, well done to Cavin Johnson (AmaZulu coach) and well done to Clinton Larsen (Arrows coach) as well. KZN football is on the up.
“You have to give credit to the chairpersons. All three KZN teams had a bit of a slump, but they kept the faith. The forward thinking from the three clubs – now they have the reward with all three teams in the top eight and qualified for the MTN8,” he explained.
Maritzburg still have one more game to play of course, the Nedbank Cup final next Saturday. When asked if his team are favourites, coach Fadlu replied:
“We are definitely not favourites for the final. Free State Stars have been in finals before and they have more experience in their squad, players with pedigree in cup finals. Perhaps Bevan (Fransman) and Siyanda (Xulu) have been in finals, for the rest it’s their first time in a final.”
In team news, coach Fadlu is optimistic that he’ll have a fully-fit squad to choose from, with long-term injury absence Brian Onyango the only likely absentee for the final in Cape Town.
“With Pogiso Sanoka it was more of a precaution, he had a bit of a twinge. We’ll assess him but hopefully he will be available for the final,” he explained.
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