Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler wants his team to play with no fear against Bucs. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

DURBAN – Eric Tinkler has challenged his Maritzburg United team to go to Orlando Stadium and play with no fear when they square off against Orlando Pirates.

The Team of Choice is oozing with confidence having amassed five wins on the trot.

Maritzburg may not be playing with fluidity, but they have developed a winning mentality of capturing points without displaying eye-catching football.

Tinkler started his head coaching career at the Buccaneers and while he still has a soft spot for the club, he would not have any qualms rubbing salt into the wounds of the Sea Robbers.

“It is Orlando Pirates. There’s a lot of quality at Pirates. We need to go there and perform and play with no fear,” Tinkler explained.

The Bucs are blowing hot and cold under their young coach Rhulani Mokwena this season.

They were dumped out of the Telkom Knockout by their bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs on penalties over the weekend.

Maritzburg, on the other hand, advanced to the semi-finals of the competition after beating Highlands Park on penalties on Friday.

“When you are playing against the big three, Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Chiefs, you don’t need to motivate players,” Tinkler said.

“Playing against these sides is motivation itself.”

The Buccaneers are 10 points behind the log leaders, Chiefs in the PSL. They have already been dumped out of the MTN8, Telkom Knockout and Caf Champions League this season.

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“It is good to go there knowing that you are in a good form as a squad. In the league our position has improved. You can go there with a lot of confidence,” Tinkler said.

“I think that makes us more dangerous, but at the same time we need to respect Pirates irrespective of whether they are having a good or bad season. That can quickly change because of the quality they have.”

Maritzburg and Pirates are separated by a single point on the league standings.

A victory is imperative for both sides.



The Mercury

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