With nine goals and three wins in four matches Maritzburg are in fine form, and on paper they should have the beating of a Chippa outfit that has won once in five appearances. To counter the possibility of being overconfident, Maritzburg are rallying their supporters to get behind the team.
Victory (kick-off 8pm) would take them to second spot behind Mamelodi Sundowns, if Free State Stars drop points at Ajax Cape Town in another clash.
However coach Fadlu Davids resisted looking at the log standings, and instead cautioned that his men needed to remain grounded lest they slip up as they did in the first half of the campaign. A bumper crowd would help keep the team on their toes, especially against an expected tricky Chippa side, reasoned Davids.
The Team of Choice are in a rich vein of scoring, even though they failed to hit the target in their solitary loss in this period, a 1-0 home defeat against SuperSport United.
A 2-1 win at Ajax Cape Town, a 4-0 thumping of Bloemfontein Celtic in the Midlands and last weekend’s 3-0 demolition away to Free State Stars has catapulted them to fifth position.
Davids was grateful for the turnout in recent home outings, and urged the supporters to give them an extra 12th man-boost against Chippa.
“The crowd has been fantastic, incredible; they are our 12th man and we are really proud of them for how they got behind the team when we were fighting relegation, and now during our good moments. We need them to continue this way and fill up the stadium,” said Davids.
“They have done it before. I urge them, bring your aunties, uncles, cousins and come watch the game, and hopefully we can keep this performance going much longer.”
Maritzburg boast the second-highest goal difference in the league, after Sundowns. They have a positive goal difference of 11 compared with the Brazilians’ 14. The scorers have varied. Winger Deolin Mekoa and defender Siyanda Xulu did the damage in the come-from-behind year opener at Ajax.
Against Celtic defender Pogiso Sanoka and strikers Mohau Mokate, Andrea Fileccia and Evans Rusike got on to the score sheet. In the last outing midfielder Bandile Shandu joined Zimbabwean Rusike and Belgian Fileccia among the scorers.
The Chilli Boys may not be on fire, but Maritzburg are well aware of the threat their former captain Kurt Lentjies can pose in pulling the strings behind the strikers.
The visitors are also settling a few new players into the team, and once the likes of Fares Hachi, Linda Mntambo, Mxolisi Macuphu, Bantu Mzwakali and Thabo Rakhale find their feet, Chippa could prove hot to handle.