Maritzburg United and Eric Tinkler won't take Baroka lightly
DURBAN – Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler has predicted a tough Premier Soccer League season ahead of his team’s season opener against Baroka FC away.
The Team of Choice will have to get over their disappointment of losing 2-1 to Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN 8 quarter-final last weekend.
Tinkler is wary of the potential dent the knockout cup exit may have had on the players.
“We want to start the 2020/21 season on the front foot. It is important that we try and get a positive result against Baroka,” he said.
“The games will not be easy this season as they all come thick and fast. The fact that we performed well in the first half against Chiefs was encouraging.
“If we can put on a similar performance against Baroka for 90 minutes, we can get a positive result,” said Tinkler.
One of the big questions surrounding Maritzburg is how they will be able to fill the void created by the departure of goalkeeper Richard Ofori.
The Ghanian joined Orlando Pirates this week. During his time with Maritzburg, he established himself as a leader and also proved himself to be one of the top goalkeepers in the Premiership.
Tinkler added that new Maritzburg signing José Alí Meza will be available for the game.
The Venezuela international joined the club from Mamelodi Sundowns during the off season and will be expected to strengthen the team’s attack while collaborating effectively with target men Judas Moseamedi and Thabiso Kutumela.
The Team of Choice will also be without the services of defender Kwanda Mngonyama who has two remaining games left on his suspension following a red-card against Bloemfontein Celtic late last season.
Tinkler’s troops will have to also make do without the services of midfielder Dan Morgan after the New Zealand international picked up an injury in their game against Chiefs at the weekend.
The game promises to be an interesting one and there will be little room for error from both sides, as was the case last season.
Neither side dominated the other during their league clashes last season as each won their home fixture.
It will be imperative that Maritzburg start the season on a good note if they are to once again challenge for a solid top eight finish this season.