16 January 2008

Ajax to provide tough test

Maritzburg United have another tough game ahead as they welcome log leaders Ajax Cape Town to the Woodburn Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Urban Warriors come into this game on the back of a 1-0 victory, which they ground out against Thanda last Sunday, while United's spirited second half performance was not enough to avoid defeat as they went down 2-1 to Orlando Pirates.

The defeat to the Buccaneers also saw the sending of newly-signed winger Fanyana Dhladhla, who will as a result miss this weekend's clash.

The loss to Pirates has seen United slip into the relegation zone, however, coach Gordon Igesund remains upbeat that his side will soon start to grind out some results and climb up the league table.

“I’m positive that we will not be relegated. I am also not panicking because I have been in this game for way too long,”

“I know we have a tough task ahead of us, but we have to work for points in these games. We will have to grind out points by putting up a big fight,” he said.

Igesund also points out that fortune has not favoured the Team of Choice, with countless refereeing decisions going against them.

“Ours is a case of bad luck. In the past couple of games we have had a player sent off plus there has been a penalty against us. Tell me, how many other teams have been through such a situation. I don’t remember when last another team had a player sent off.”

Added to that, Maritzburg have been handed an extremely tough fixture list

“This compressed period will have a say in determining where we will be at the end of the season. Once we have play these next five games, then we enter the last third of the season. In the end it hurts us because we now have to play three games every week."

However, in Igesund's favour is that there is clearly a strong team spirit in the side, and the players have demonstrated their willingness to battle and give their all for 90 minutes of every game.

They will need of this fighting ability against an on-form Ajax side, who in Mabhudi Khenyeza, they have one of the hottest striker's in the league.

Wingers Sameehg Doutie and Franklyn Cale are both dangerous in attack and must be carefully monitored, while in defence, both Erduardo Ferreira and Brett Evans pose a threat from set pieces.

The game will see both Igesund and defender Bageta Dikulu coming up against their former club.