Maritzburg United caretaker coach Fadlu Davids says getting his players to "focus on football" has been the priority since Roger de Sa's resignation. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
DURBAN - Maritzburg United caretaker coach Fadlu Davids will have to delve into the sports psychology sections of his training when they host Ajax Cape Town at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday.

More than anything else, the Midlands men need to focus on the positives as the season enters the final stretch of nine games this weekend. That’s because of their precarious 10th spot in the Absa Premiership standings, as well as the recent resignation of coach Roger de Sa.

Davids replaces his assistant coach cap with that of the head coach for the second time this season. As much as he will be expected to step up to the senior role, the former Maritzburg striker wants his charges to be on top of their game as well.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives of two coaches resigning within the space of five months, the rookie tactician’s message to his squad is to concentrate on their strengths.

“It came as a shock when Roger resigned. So the first thing is to get the players to focus on football, focus on the positives and the tactical aspects of the game we are working on,” said Davids

Rather than remembering their recent poor form - three losses away from home in league and cup action - he pointed out that Maritzburg were successful in their last home outing and that the players should instead draw on that memory.

“The last game we played at home was against Free State Stars and we won. We have to take that mentality into the Ajax game.

“It’s going to be a tough game as Ajax will also be coming for three points,” said Davids.

Coincidentally, he was in charge on the touchline in his home city Cape Town when Maritzburg won the first round clash 2-1 with a late strike from winger Deolin Mekoa.

Former coach Ernst Middendorp was suspended for that game and the subsequent loss to Cape Town City. He resigned thereafter, and Davids took over in a caretaker capacity for five unbeaten matches until De Sa’s appointment in January.

This should be a closely contested affair because the Urban Warriors are one point behind, and victory will see them leapfrog their rivals.

Both outfits welcome back players from national duty. Defender Rivaldo Coetzee rejoins the Cape side after spending time with Bafana Bafana, while the Team of Choice have Kenyan defender Brian Onyango back after the Harambee Stars edged DR Congo 2-1 in a friendly.

In an afternoon game, Golden Arrows will target three points from relegation-threatened Highlands Park in KwaMashu.

Seventh-placed Arrows are seven points ahead of Highlands, and boosted by the return from injury of Kagisho Dikgacoi and Vuyani Ntanga.

PSL fixtures:


SuperSport United v Baroka FC (Mbombela Stadium, 3pm); Golden Arrows v Highlands Park (Princess Magogo Stadium, 3pm); Free State Stars v Orlando Pirates (James Motlatsi Stadium, 6pm); Bidvest Wits v Platinum Stars (Bidvest Stadium, 6pm); Kaizer Chiefs v Mamelodi Sundowns (FNB Stadium, 8.15pm)

Maritzburg Utd v Ajax Cape Town (Harry Gwala Stadium, 8.15pm)


Polokwane City v Bloem Celtic (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, 3pm)

The Star