United fans con­fi­dent of Ned­bank Cup fi­nal spot

The Witness - - NEWS - NONDUMISO ZAKWE Nondumiso.Zakwe@wit­ness.co.za

“FOR­us­it’s­just­an­other­game.­Weare­al­ready­pre­par­ing­to­go­to­CapeTown­for­the­fi­nal.­We’ve­asked­thechair­man­to­get­the­buses­ready!”

Those­were­the­brave­words­yes­ter­day­from­the­known­lead­ing­fanof­Mar­itzburg­United,­Paul­Lutch­man,­ahead­of­the­ea­gerly-await­edNed­bank­Cup­semi-fi­nal­clash­be­tween­United­and­pow­er­ful­MamelodiSun­downs­ this­ week­end.

The­top­Tsh­wane­side­will­cometo­ Pi­eter­mar­itzburg­ on­ Sun­day­with­re­venge­on­their­minds­in­lightof­what­tran­spired­at­Lu­cas­MoripeS­ta­dium­in­the­MTN8­when­the­two­sides­ met­ back­ in­ Au­gust.

Coach­ Fadlu­ Davids’­ Mid­land­steam­pro­duced­an­im­pres­sive­dis­play­to­dump­Sun­downs­out­of­that­com­pe­ti­tion.

Although­ Sun­downs­ are­ still­con­sid­ered­strong­favourites­aheadof­the­meet­ing­on­Sun­day,­Lutch­ma­nis­ con­fi­dent­ that­ his­tory­ will­re­peat­ it­self.

Speak­ing­to­The Wit­ness,­he­said:“We­beat­them­in­the­MTN8­thissea­son­and­we’ll­beat­them­again.This­time­it’ll­be­on­our­terms­be­cause­we­will­be­the­home­team.­Weal­ways­give­them­a­tough­time­re­gard­less­of­where­we­play.”

The­53-year-old­is­a­warder­at­theNew­Prison­in­Napierville,­but­his­pas­sion­ for­ the­ Mid­lands­ out­fitchanges­ him­ into­ a­ “foot­ball­ an­i­mal”­when­he’s­on­the­stands.

He­ is­ among­ those­ who­ have­been­loyal­to­the­club­from­day­one,­ through­the­ugly­and­good,­and­herep­re­sents­the­hap­pi­ness­of­the­fansat­the­mo­ment.

This­cam­paign­has­seen­the­team­reach­two­semi-fi­nals­and­a­re­spectable­spot­in­the­top­half­of­the­Ab­saPremier­ship­stand­ings.

Lutch­man­ ex­plained­ what­ had­kept­ them­ com­ing­ to­ the­ Har­ryGwala­Sta­dium­in­their­num­bers­to­sup­port­the­lo­cal­club.

“It’s­been­a­fan­tas­tic­sea­son­forus.­ It’s­ ex­cit­ing­ to­ see­ the­ youth­com­ing­ from­ our­ de­vel­op­men­tranks­and­most­of­them­are­lo­calplay­ers.­Watch­ing­the­likes­of­Mbe­suma­[Siph­e­sihle­Ndlovu],­Bandile[Shandu],­ that­ is­ what­ makes­ us­proud­be­cause­those­are­home­play­ers­...”

With­three­league­matches­to­go,aside­ from­ the­ knock­out­ as­sign­ment­this­week,­Lutch­man­said­the­ club’s­ faith­ful­ were­ sat­is­fied­ with­this­ sea­son’s­ de­vel­op­ments­ an­dany­thing­else­achieved­would­be­abonus.­ “We­ would­ be­ happy­ witha­top-five­fin­ish­...­They­are­young­play­ers,­ but­ they’ve­ been­ re­allya­maz­ing­ to­ watch.­ They’ve­ re­al­ly­made­us­proud­as­a­city.”

Kick-off­on­Sun­day­is­at­3­pm.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Har­dened­ fan­ Paul­ Lutch­man­ (wear­ing­ white)­ with­ fel­low­ sup­port­ers­ of­ Mar­itzburg­ United­ get­ting­ in­tothe­ spirit­ of­ a­ pre­vi­ous­ game.­

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