This time 12 months ago the Team of Choice were just getting started on their Nedbank Cup run which took them all the way to the final, while after what had been a slow start to the league campaign, United were steadily climbing up the Absa Premiership standings before going on to finish in a highly credible fourth place.
Now, it’s all about survival, and with the cool and calm Tinkler at the helm, Maritzburg are optimistic that they can turn things around.
Tinkler, who conducted his first training session on Tuesday, revealed that his immediate objective is to restore morale to the camp.
Asked what his approach will be, he replied:
“Working with the players, specifically on the physiological side of things. I think the players are mentally drained. I don’t think they are physically drained, but they are mentally drained.
“On the field of play, let’s not look to make massive changes, because I think that’s just going to confuse everyone. I want to try and rebuild what was good, what they know, and bring a positive vibe to training and to the club.”
Tinkler has just a couple of days to settle in before his first match with Maritzburg, which is on Friday night in Johannesburg against Bidvest Wits, his former club, and the current Absa Premiership leaders.
Rather than shirking from the fixture though, Tinkler wants to meet the challenge head on and will be looking to his men to make a statement of their intent against the Clever Boys.
“The players must realise that they have absolutely nothing to lose, because nobody is giving us a chance to go there and get a result, we’re playing against the team that is top of the log. That in itself should be the motivation,” he said.
“Being a sports person, you love the challenge, the challenge is what pushes you, you want to achieve things, and how do you do that? By pitching up for the party against big teams like Wits who are laying top of the table, and causing a shock and stealing the limelight.
“This is an opportunity for us to do that, and hopefully then also build the confidence and the morale of the team.”