DURBAN – Maritzburg United have been fragile and vulnerable at the back this season, and the departure of Bevan Fransman to Highlands Park has hit them hard.
Last season Siyanda Xulu and Fransman formed a formidable partnership at the back, and both were nominated for the Defender of the Season Award, ultimately won by Xulu.
United signed the experienced Nazeer Allie in their attempt to fill the huge void left by Fransman, but he has yet to feature for the Team of Choice.
He is now on course to start against his former team, Bidvest Wits.
United will face the Clever Boys tonight at 6pm in a league encounter at Harry Gwala Stadium.
“I’m hopeful that if I’m given an opportunity, I can do my best to contribute in to the team’s success. I want to do my best,” Allie said.
The Team of Choice have only kept one clean sheet this season, and conceded two goals in their opening fixture against Golden Arrows in the KZN derby at Harry Gwala Stadium.
United also let in two goals against Free State Stars in the second match of the season. The only clean sheet for United came against Kaizer Chiefs, when they played out to a 0-0 stalemate.
“We’ve played well, but the problem it is that we’ve been conceding. As a result, we’ve lost points,” Allie said.
United will be without the services of midfield kingpin Siphesihle Ndlovu, Keagan Buchanan and Yazid Atouba.
Delion Mekoa is facing a late fitness test, while Fortune Makaringe is returning from suspension.
“Wits have quality players in all departments. We have to prepare well for them and what we come up against today,” Allie said.
“They’ve started well. They have been solid at the back. We have to do our best to penetrate their defence which has been tight this season. They have only conceded one goal in the league.”
Wits are high in confidence, and they are on top of the table with 12 points after five matches. They have kept three clean sheets in five matches.
Wits have won four matches and lost only one – their only defeat a narrow 1-0 loss against SuperSport United.
“We want to make our supporters happy. We will give it out best shot. The recent Fifa break helped us to focus on our weaknesses,” Allie concluded.@Minenhlecr7
Independent on Saturday