MARITZBURG READY FOR ARROWS OPENER
20 August 2021
After a tough off-season when there were more challenges than usual, the 2021/22 season is finally here with Maritzburg United set to launch their DStv Premiership campaign against Lamontville Golden Arrows in KwaMashu on Saturday.
The Team of Choice have been hard at work for nearly two months now, preparing for this moment. There were interruptions in between in the form of Covid-19 restrictions and the civil unrest that struck the club and the KwaZulu-Natal province.
But they have still managed to come through strongly, capping their preparations by winning the recent KZN Premiers Cup by beating last season’s league runners-up AmaZulu in the final.
“The pre-season was a bit different compared to usual because we had plans for a camp and those plans had to change because of circumstances,” coach Ernst Middendorp said.
“But everything else went well here in Pietermaritzburg and we managed to use the Premiers Cup adequately. However we are still learning about some areas of the team and the first one or two games in a competitive environment will help us to get further answers.
"As much as warm-up friendly games help, we can only really know where the team is when they are playing for points.”
In Arrows, Maritzburg are bracing themselves to face familiar opponents, who they will be coming up against in the first fixture of a season for the third time in four years. Abafana Bes’thende have won each of those games, although Maritzburg have managed to mainly hold their own during the return fixtures.
The Durban club have won six out of their last 10 meetings with the Team of Choice, with two games lost and two drawn.
“Golden Arrows is a team very much similar in approach,” Coach Ernst added. “We saw they had a very successful season last year. They reached the MTN8 semi-final a few days ago and that gives them an advantage in terms of playing competitively.”
A number of Maritzburg’s 12 new signings are expected to debut at the Princess Magogo Stadium. The list of new faces are Alfred Ndengane, Zukile Kewuti, Lifa Hlongwane, Brandon Theron, Richard Zumah, Rowan Human, Lelethu Skelem, Amadou Soukouna, Razeen Bennett and goalkeeping trio Brylon Petersen, Tato Lesoma and Renaldo Leaner.