Maritzburg United boss Muhsin Ertugral is relishing an opportunity to face his old "student", Steve Komphela, in an Absa Premiership KwaZulu-Natal derby today.

The Team of Choice will lock horns with Lamontville Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont (3.30pm kick-off).

Komphela recently joined Abafana Bes’thende from Bloemfontein Celtic, replacing Clinton Larsen at the helm. Ertugral is also still new. He took over the reins as the new coach of United towards the end of last year.

The Kaizer Chiefs coach gave Komphela his first job as coach when they were at Amakhosi in 2001 when Komphela served as his assistant. 

Ertugral knows what to expect from his counterpart: “I know him well. Steve was my assistant (at Kaizer Chiefs). It was his first job. I’ve always believed in Steve's coaching ability. I also know him from Turkey when we both there.”

The former Ajax Boss and his former understudy will be looking to get off to flying starts to the new year as United are languishing at the foot of the table with just 11 points after 14 games while Abafana Bes’thende are 11th on 16 points.

“I know where he (Steve) comes from and I hope Mabhudi (Khenyeza) will go the same way. He is one of the most talented coaches and he brings passion in to the game. As much as people may say different things, Steve is a very good coach. I know his thinking, and I know his judgment, “ Ertugral added.

The Team of Choice have only registered one victory so far this season and, clearly, will be looking to improve on that dismal record and inflict revenge on Abafana Bes’thende. Arrows defeated United when they met in the first round, a 2-0 defeat at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

“I love Steve as a human being. I like how he operates. We are good friends but we will now see how he comes out to try and stop me when we're up against each other,” Ertugral added with a big smile.

Arrows welcome back their experienced duo of Danny Phiri and Musa Bilankulu who missed the last game due to injury.

“The United team that was here last year was very good. They finished in the top four. They can’t have become poor overnight. Whatever the reasons are, I need to find them out (as to why they are not performing this season)," Ertugral said.

“We have a team full of pace. For years now I haven’t worked with the team that has so much tremendous pace. All of the boys are enthusiastic. I hate it when the coach comes and says my philosophy is this or that. You have to adjust with what you have. Right now we are looking at how can we best utilise this pace. So these are elements that we are working on."

United and Arrows ended 2018 with defeats and will be looking to bounce back. Arrows suffered a 2-0 loss to AmaZulu away from home while United were shot down by Baroka FC in their own backyard.

“I’m pretty excited about this United team. I have to learn more about their habits. We can talk a lot but the most important thing is results and we need to show we don’t belong in bottom place. I’m happy with what I’ve seen in training.” Ertugral insisted.

Also today, Baroka FC host Black Leopards (3.30pm).

@minenhlecr7


Sunday Tribune

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