DURBAN - Maritzburg United are a few steps closer to playing in the Caf Confederation Cup. To achieve that they’ve got to maintain their position as number three in the Absa Premiership log standings.
The Team of Choice are six games away from competing against some of the best teams in the continent. On Tuesday night they will face Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium in an Absa Premiership tussle (kick off at 7.30 pm).
The Team of Choice could also book their place in the Caf Confederation Cup by winning the Nedbank Cup. They will lock horns with Mamelodi Sundowns in a semi-final of the knockout tournament, where if they triumph they will face the winner of the game between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars for the trophy. The Premier Soccer League is yet to announce dates for these matches.
Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids said he didn’t want his side to get ahead of themselves.
“Yes, third position and winning the Nedbank Cup takes you to Caf. We are well aware that both of them take you there. We have a young squad. We have young players and all we have to do is to focus on the next match, not to think too far ahead of ourselves. You can lose your focus and crumble (if you think too far ahead of yourself),” he said.
“We have a very thin squad. We’ve used the fewest number of players in the league so far. We need to manage them to come through this tough period. Let us not even go there. We will see if it happens."
This past weekend Maritzburg rolled past Bloemfontein Celtic in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup at Harry Gwala Stadium. The Team of Choice is enjoying their best season in top-flight football. Besides their third spot on the log, they have already reached two cup semi-finals.
Earlier in the season they were beaten 3-1 by SuperSport United in the semis of the MTN 8.
“But I can’t be really proud,” said Davids. “There’s nothing to show for it so far. It is the semi-final. We have to try and get to the final. I told the players in the last two weeks we’ve been getting a lot of praise.
"A lot of people have been talking about us. We want to achieve more. We want to get in to the next step. Not just be happy about where we are.”
Davids is also wary of the danger posed by Absa Premiership champions, Bidvest Wits.
“It is absolutely fantastic that we are in the hat for the next round. Anything can happen now. It is cup football. But now we have to refocus on the league. Wits is an important game. We must not forget we are facing the champions. They are still the champions of the league. Their form in this period is best in the league. We are facing them in the best form. It’ll be a tough game. For us the next target is to get to the 40-point mark,” Davids said.