Bevan’s Cup-tie counsel
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.