5 May 2009  

'Let's fill Woodburn to the rafters tomorrow'

GORDON Igesund has a dream that goes beyond just beating Free State Stars at Woodburn Stadium tomorrow night (8 pm) to ensure Maritzburg United’s Premier Soccer League survival.

United coach Igesund would dearly love to see the victory performed out in front of a capacity crowd of home supporters — and he believes this is possible.

The coach yesterday had two messages to established United fans, and Maritzburgers who have not yet ventured to Woodburn Stadium to watch the team play.

“We as management want to express to the fans how grateful we are for the superb support they’ve given us,” he said. “At the same time, we want to appeal to them to come to the last game of the season, and bring their friends with them.

“The team has really started to perform at home, and that is largely because of the support the team has been given by the fans. When the players play in front of that support they always perform, and they have started to grow used to it now, and revel in it.

“On Saturday night against Swallows [United won 3-1] the support was magnificent and what a fantastic vibe. Now let’s fill the stadium, and show the whole country what Pietermaritzburg is capable of. I honestly believe, with the passion I have seen in this city, that we are capable of doing it.”

Igesund said United fans are among the most passionate and enthusiastic he has encountered.

“I’ve been at Rangers, Pirates, Santos and Sundowns and I think Maritzburg really has special supporters.

“And they understand football — even when we went through a period where we really struggled this season, they still came to the games and there was no abuse from the stands.

“They showed that they understood why we were struggling and that we were a new team. They have Maritzburg in their blood.

“The people who have been in the stadium have been magnificent, but let’s get more in. There are still three or four thousand empty seats that can be filled.

“Look at Bloemfontein Celtic who fill 30 000 seats in their stadium, and we only have an 8 000-seater to fill. And it’s not like Celtic have had a better season than us — in fact they have had a worse season.

“I still believe the Maritzburg fans can emulate that. I’m saying to the fans who do come to the stadium and do support us so superbly, and clearly enjoy themselves so greatly, tell your friend, or your cousin or your aunt to come to the game.”

The coach said United need support more than ever against Stars because a win will guarantee their relegation safety.

“And also let’s make it a celebration of Maritzburg being back in the PSL and having survived their first season back, and that there will be top-flight football in the city again next season,” he said.

•Tickets: Open stand (R20) at Computicket; grand stand (R30) at SuperSave in Retief Street and club offices at 397 Victoria Road. On sale at the ground.

* Article courtesy of Marc Strydom and the Witness