25 November 2008

United up against former foes

Maritzburg United know plenty about Bay United from last season's coastal stream of the first division - but on Wednesday afternoon it will be Absa Premiership points on offer when the two sides meet at the Woodburn Stadium.

While United took the direct route through to the Premiership - ending top of the coastal stream and then beating FC AK in the primary play-off final, The PE side went the long way round - they went into a four-way play-off with Black Leopards, FC AK and Dynamos, before eventually gaining their PSL status.

Games between the Pietermaritzburg side and the outfit from the Eastern Cape last season were huge, and today's match promises to continue this trend as both sides find themselves battling for points in the Premiership.

Both side's have had their highlights - Umlilo beat Sundowns twice, while United started the season in excellent form, beating Chiefs and AmaZulu and drawing with Ajax.

But having now gone without a win for six games, Maritzburg will be desperate to collect all three points on offer.

Bay United have lost their last four matches, so victory is key for them as well, which should make this a highly-competitive and robust match.

Team Manager Quinton Jettoo is adamant however that better times are just around the corner for The Team of Choice.

"If we were going for the league, then we would have been panicking, but we simply started out with the aim of keeping our place in the league this season as a newly-promoted team.

"The coach wants to analyse things and is hopeful of a turnaround.

"The game between us and Bay is now like a 'six-pointer' in terms of both clubs struggling at present, but if we can beat them, then that will put us five points head of them," he is reported as saying on the IOL website.

United will be boosted by the return to the side of their suspended duo - midfielder John Aruwah and striker Brice Aka.

Fadlu Davids was also back for last week's loss to Santos and will hopefully be ready to be amongst the goals again.

Danger-men for the Bay United side will be strikers Jimmy Zakazaka, MacDonald Mukansi and Linos Chalwe (both the latter are formerly of Manning Rangers) and midfielder and free kick specialist Gareth Ncaca.

At the back they have the reliable Arthur Bartmann in goal as well as former Chiefs defender Cyril Nzama and former Pirates left back Abednigo Netshiozwi