DURBAN - Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids says he was proud of his team's performance against SuperSport United following the tragedy to striker Luyanda Ntshangase.
The 21-year-old, who made has two appearances for Maritzburg so far this season, was struck by lighting on Thursday during the team’s training session.
“I am extremely proud of the players considering the emotional roller-coaster that they went through. It’s a huge situation that we faced," Davids said.
“I didn’t know how they could keep their emotions intact (against Supersport). I knew that they wouldn’t come out guns blazing, considering that one of our own is still sitting in hospital. I am proud of them, they stuck out to the task, they still defended and grinded out a result.
Davids continued: “It was really an emotional game, we asked the league to postpone the game but they refused. We had to fulfil the fixture, that’s why I am proud of them."
Ntshangase is believed to be in a critical condition, and is currently in intense care.
“We ask the whole football fraternity to please pray for him, so that he can make a full recovery. He’s currently in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)," Davids explained.
This is the third incident that has hit the club in a period of two years. In January 2016, the team lost winger Mondli Cele in a car accident and last year in October, they mourned the death of Mondli Dlamini who was also killed in a car accident. Davids explained that such moments hit hard on players immediately they are off the football pitch.
“When we lost Dlamini, we went eight games without a win - five draws and three losses. I never wanted to say that was the cause, tha tragedy of losing a player, but of course something like that has an effect," Davids said.
“The players get on to the training field and they forget about it. Once you get off the field you miss your former teammate who was supposed to be there with you."
Before the incident on Thursday, the Team of Choice have been in fine form.
They currently sit fourth in the log standings and hold the best defensive record in the league so far, making them dark-horses in this season’s title race.
Their tenure this season was capped-off by mildfelder Siphesihle Ndlovu walking away with the January player of the month award, something that has never happened before at the Pietermaritzburg-based club.