The Team of Choice take on the log leaders at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night (20h15), having played to a 0-0 draw in their most recent encounter against Chippa United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday.
United have drawn four of their last five league outings, with three of those games ending in 0-0 draws. And so while the defence is looking watertight, it’s no secret that Maritzburg need more punch up front.
Coach Fadlu, who knew how to find the back of the net in his days as a striker, feels that it requires a mental switch from his men in order to start scoring more freely.
“You have to really want to score, sometimes you take an extra touch, sometimes there’s a free guy, you give it to him, he puts it into an empty net. So that’s definitely what we have to work on,” he said.
The current season has been similar to the previous campaign, when Maritzburg battled for consistency before the Christmas break, before coming back strongly in the second half of the season.
Key to turning things around, says the Coach, is for the players to fully back their own capabilities.
“I believe in these players, they have to believe in themselves, because they‘re good players,” he said.
“It’s no use now to drop your head, to go in your shell. It’s about going with confidence and arrogance on the ball, wanting to play, being brave.
“That belief is now what is required within the DNA of the club, from the players to the management, to the supporters. We have to believe, and once that starts to rub off, like last season, we got two good results and then we rode on that wave.
“I urge my players, forget about the results, forget about the log, look within yourselves and start believing how good you really are,” he continued.
“It will come. They are united, they are fighting for everything, it’s about getting those goals, getting a win, then you can go on a run. Now everybody has to put their chests out and believe in themselves.
“We must take games by the scruff of the neck. Don’t let the worry pull you down. Play with belief, go in that final third and be aggressive, be clinical and be decisive,” coach Fadlu concluded.
The corresponding match in Soweto last season ended in a 2-1 win for the Buccaneers, after a 0-0 draw at the Harry Gwala Stadium earlier in the 2017/ 18 campaign.
The last time the Team of Choice beat Bucs was in December of 2016, when Bevan Fransman and Brian Onyango scored in a 2-1 home win.
Overall, Maritzburg have won six and lost 14 of their 25 matches with Pirates.
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