Be­van’s Cup-tie coun­sel

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT&RACING - KAMLESH GOSAI

DUR­BAN: Hav­ing been around the block a few times lo­cally and abroad, de­fender Be­van Frans­man is urg­ing his Mar­itzburg United team­mates to keep their feet on the ground ahead of tonight’s MTN8 semi-fi­nal sec­ond leg show­down against Su­perS­port United at the Harry Gwala Sta­dium.

The 33-year-old has won and lost a few cup fi­nals in his time in the PSL and over­seas, and knows that they can’t rest on their away goal ad­van­tage and ex­pect to cruise into the fi­nal.

In fact, Frans­man tasted cup heart­break with Su­pers­port when they were edged by his other for­mer side, Kaizer Chiefs, in the 2013 Ned­bank Cup fi­nal in Dur­ban.

On the other hand, he won sil­ver­ware early in his ca­reer in Is­rael, and shared the value of that suc­cess with his younger col­leagues. “We haven’t won any­thing yet. We’ve just gone past the first leg, which is noth­ing great. The mo­ti­va­tion is clear, to reach the cup fi­nal, be­cause as a player you want to fin­ish your ca­reer by lift­ing one or two tro­phies,” said the vet­eran who rep­re­sented Bafana Bafana at the peak of his ca­reer.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity for the younger play­ers to get a feel of a semi­fi­nal and gain ex­pe­ri­ence. I just say to them they must en­joy it, and I try to guide them as much as I can, and or­gan­ise the team ac­cord­ing to how the coach wants us to play tac­ti­cally.”

Frans­man and Siyanda Xulu are likely to fea­ture in the heart of the home de­fence, with Ghana-born Ger­man De­nis Wei­dlich on the right side. Kenya in­ter­na­tional Brian Onyango would gen­er­ally slot in ahead of Xulu but he is out in­jured after rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try in a friendly dur­ing the Fifa World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion week.

With Onyango set to un­dergo a scan to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of a ham­string strain Xulu has an op­por­tu­nity to ce­ment his spot, hav­ing ar­rived this sea­son from Chiefs.

In four league and cup out­ings the Team of Choice con­ceded one goal, scored by Su­perS­port in the first leg a fort­night ago. That goal serves as a warn­ing of what the vis­i­tors are ca­pa­ble of, with top marks­men like Bradley Grob­ler, Jeremy Brockie and Thuso Phala in their ranks.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough 90 min­utes and we can’t guar­an­tee it will stay 0-0. We’ll have to play as cau­tious as we can but at the same time not give too much re­spect to Su­perS­port. The coach has made it clear early on not to get ahead of our­selves as we haven’t won any­thing,” Frans­man added.

Wei­dlich, 31, is in his sec­ond sea­son in the coun­try and has been en­trusted with the cap­taincy. He is ea­ger to lock Su­perS­port out and get a chance to win a first tro­phy in his pro ca­reer: “We are so close to a fi­nal so we must grab it, so one day you can talk to your kids about it. To win some­thing is spe­cial; it opens a new chap­ter,” he said. “The MTN8 is big here and it’ll be great for a small club like Mar­itzburg to reach the fi­nal.

“I’m hon­oured to be the cap­tain. I wear the arm­band but I’m not the only leader. Ev­ery­one must go in the same di­rec­tion,” said Wei­dlich.

Mar­itzburg might have Cameroo­nian play­maker Yazid Atouba as an ex­tra at­tack­ing op­tion if his work per­mit is granted.

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