Thabiso Kutumela has scored five goals for Maritzburg this season. Photo: BackpagePix
Thabiso Kutumela has scored five goals for Maritzburg this season. Photo: BackpagePix

Giant-killers Maritzburg United are genuine top-three prospects

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Mar 25, 2020

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DURBAN – Maritzburg United are well-placed to end the season among the top teams that will qualify to campaign in the continental competitions if the Absa Premiership does resume.

The Team of Choice are currently fifth on the log with 39 points after 24 games. They are one point behind third-placed SuperSport United.

The top two teams will qualify for the CAF Champions League and then the winners of the Nedbank Cup and those that finish third on the log will get a ticket to compete in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Maritzburg will make history should they finish in the top three and qualify for any of the continental spots but their club chairman, Farook Kadodia, feels is a little premature to think that far ahead.

“It will be premature for me to be talking about Champions League or Confederation Cup. We’ve got bigger issues to deal with as a nation. For now, we will fulfil the obligation of the brand and the business model of the club,” Kadodia said.

The Team of Choice have punched above their weight following a near-disaster last term where they were fighting for survival in the elite league. They squeaked back in through the play-offs.

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Since then the Pietermaritzburg club has performed beyond expectations.

Among the things that Eric Tinkler’s men have done well is to play their home games as if the players’ lives depended on them.

Many visiting PSL teams have now come to know that Friday nights in the KwaZulu-Natal capital are a nightmare. Not a single visiting team has managed to win at Harry Gwala Stadium on a Friday night this season.

This clean record has comfortably placed them in the top eight and if they continue with this rhythm they are candidates for a top three finish.

The remaining games are, however, not going to be the easiest for Maritzburg. They still have to play against Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits at Harry Gwala Stadium.

“I think what is important to understand is that we are faced with a very tricky situation,” Kadodia added.

“Our disappointment is that the team was doing well and then we had to break because of coronavirus. We don’t know what’s the way forward as far as league programme is concerned.

“Are the players going to come back with a different mentality? Hopefully we can get it right by starting where we left off. But there are no guarantees for that,” he added.

Maritzburg will be optimistic that they will rediscover the form that they were in before the PSL action was halted because of this coronavirus outbreak.

“We just have to promote the idea of staying at home and take responsibility by doing what is right,” Kadodia explained.


The Mercury

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