DURBAN - Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids faces selection posers upfront and in defence ahead of the showdown with Bidvest Wits on Saturday at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg at 6pm.
The sides will battle for maximum points in an Absa Premiership tussle which will have a different meaning for each side. The Team of Choice are still searching for that elusive victory in 2018/19 season while the Clever Boys will be looking to cement their place on top of the table.
Wits are leading with 12 points after five league outings and United are second from the bottom with a single point after three matches. Speaking with the media yesterday, Davids said that Yannick Zakri and Andrea Fileccia are pushing each other for the striking position while Brian Onyango and Nazeer Allie are working diligently to break into the starting eleven at the back.
“We’ve had four fantastic weeks where we’ve worked with the new players on our principles in terms of attack and defence. Zakri is now on his fifth week training with the team and he is ready. The competition between the two of them is good and the question is who to start. They have to fight for their place and we have to see who wants to command that number nine role. The number nine jersey is up for grabs, Andrea will for sure up his game,” Davids stated.
United have struggled for goals. They fired blanks against Kaizer Chiefs and Lamontville Golden Arrows. The only goal that they have netted came in a 2-1 loss against Free State Stars in Goble Park. The new man, Keletso Makgalwa, scored on his debut. The Team of Choice also failed to find the back of the net against Cape Town City in the quarter-final of the MTN8.
Fileccia didn’t feature in the first three matches because of an injury. Zakri joined United before the Fifa break and will be looking to make his debut. Davids has a selection headache. It is a nice problem to encounter when you have two quality players pushing each other for the starting berth.
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“Nazeer Allie is back and so is Brian Onyango. We still have three training sessions and we will see which is the best lineup. Having Onyango and Allie at the back will also push other players. We haven’t decided as yet as to who will start at the back,” he added.
Midfielder Siphesihle Ndlovu will begin to serve a two-match suspension after receiving a red card against Amakhosi in United’s last match. Keagan Buchanan suffered an injury at training and is likely to be out for a while and Deolin Mekoa will face a late fitness test.
“It is a blow to us to lose Keagan. He had a clash with his teammate in one of our training sessions. He is having a scan to see the extent of his injury. Mekoa will have a late fitness test to see if he is ready for the game or not. He twisted his knee,” Davids lamented.
United will miss Yazid Atouba, who has hardly featured since joining last season. Atouba has a tight muscle problem. Davids welcomes back Fortune Makaringe who missed the last two matches because of an injury. “You can’t compare Wits with us. They are competing for the league and we are fighting for the top 8. They have signed good players,” Davids elaborated.