DURBAN - Playing smarter and remaining positive will be the key to Maritzburg United breaking out of an 11-game winless run.
The Team of Choice haven’t won in 11 games in all competitions, and they failed to score in nine of those, most recently the goalless home draw with Bidvest Wits at the weekend.
Despite this, Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids is optimistic they will regain form by focusing on their strengths.
“We lost a huge talent in Mlondi Dlamini. He was really our bright spark in times like this to be able to unlock teams and create something out of nothing,” said Davids of the midfielder who died in a car crash last month.
“We have to create better attacking structures to suit our players; we can’t keep crying that Kurt Lentjies left and that we lost Mlondi Dlamini.”
Cameroonian playmaker Yazid Atouba, who arrived at the start of the campaign from DR Congo giants AS Vita Club, will be pivotal to revitalising the front line once he finds his rhythm.
“Yazid gave a really positive performance (against Wits). It’s difficult coming to a new country. You put a lot on his shoulders to fill the void Kurt Lentjies left but he’s settling in and showing positive signs," said Davids.
“I’m happy he’s growing from strength to strength and getting used to the intensity, physicality and pace of the league. The PSL is surprisingly fast for these guys from north Africa but there are positive signs he’s getting better.”
While the January transfer window might offer an chance to strengthen the squad, Davids, 36, believes this group can bounce back. The league’s youngest coach faces the challenge of working with Maritzburg’s youngest ever squad.
“In training the boys are absolutely fantastic, scoring goals into the top corner, left and right, but one must understand this is the youngest squad Maritzburg have ever had, with an average age of 23.
"When you’re not scoring, the confidence drops, but the boys are giving their all in terms of the fight and the grind. It’s just not falling for them at the moment and we have to keep believing in them.
“Once the goal comes, and the win comes, I’m sure like in the beginning of the season when we were on a run, they will ride the wave. Now they’re feeling the pressure of not scoring but we’re behind them 100 percent, pushing, motivating and showing them the videos. I’m confident in the boys and I know they’ll turn the corner,” Davids said.