Fadlu: ‘I’m con­fi­dent’

United coach urges fans to stay pos­i­tive as he is op­ti­mistic the team will get back to win­ning ways

The Witness - - SPORT - CARL PETERS

THE Absa Pre­mier­ship stand­ings may look quite de­press­ing to the “Blue Army” of Mar­itzburg United diehards, but un­der-fire coach Fadlu Davids has urged them to stay pos­i­tive be­cause he feels that his youth­ful team are bound to pro­duce more con­sis­tent re­sults be­fore the Christ­mas fix­tures break.

Davids, whose 14th-placed men host 10th-placed High­lands Park to­day, reck­ons his play­ers have been work­ing hard at cre­at­ing more and bet­ter scor­ing chances for them­selves and the fans must also re­mem­ber his team were in a sim­i­lar poor po­si­tion at this stage last sea­son but went on to have a fan­tas­tic fin­ish in the top four.

In other words, he is very con­fi­dent of turn­ing the cor­ner and reach­ing a tally of about 20 points by the Christ­mas re­cess through get­ting the busi­ness done in most of the seven matches his cur­rently goal-shy but de­fen­sively-solid “Team of Choice” face be­fore that point.

“The main thing for us is to cre­ate more scor­ing chances and score more goals. We have been work­ing hard on that in train­ing.

“We have a young team, with only one player [Nazeer Al­lie] over the age of 27, but I am con­fi­dent they will get bet­ter re­sults soon,” said Davids yes­ter­day.

“We were in the same sit­u­a­tion at this stage last sea­son, but we had a great De­cem­ber and Jan­uary pe­riod and went on to get that great fin­ish in the top four of the stand­ings.”

Af­ter bid­ding to se­cure only their sec­ond league win of the cur­rent cam­paign when they face Owen da Gama’s High­lands side, which may in­clude new striker Tendai Ndoro at Harry Gwala Sta­dium (HGS) tonight, Davids’s men will en­counter Chippa United, Or­lando Pi­rates, Mamelodi Sun­downs, Black Leop­ards, Su­per­Sport United and Baroka by De­cem­ber 22.

They will be at home for the clashes with Chippa, Leop­ards and Baroka, although Harry Gwala Sta­dium has gen­er­ally been a dis­ap­point­ing place this sea­son.

Added Davids: “I have full faith in my play­ers.

“We have been work­ing very hard and I am con­fi­dent we can reach our tar­get be­fore the Christ­mas break.

“The fans must not panic; we will def­i­nitely get bet­ter. We did very well in the sec­ond half of the de­feat to Wits last week­end and will take con­fi­dence from that into this clash with High­lands Park.”

The coach is set to have all his reg­u­lars on the pitch this evening, in­clud­ing firstchoice goal­keeper Richard Ofori and ex­pe­ri­enced cen­tre­back Brian Onyango, who were rested against Wits at Harry Gwala Sta­dium last Satur­day.

Far away from Mar­itzburg’s trou­bles, four of the coun­try’s five rich­est clubs are now sit­ting in the top four po­si­tions of the 16-team stand­ings and the other is not far away in sev­enth spot.

Most fol­low­ers of the do­mes­tic league will ex­pect this sit­u­a­tion to con­tinue for the rest of the sea­son, with this week­end’s pro­gramme fea­tur­ing Pi­rates pro­tect­ing pole po­si­tion, Wits sec­ond, Sun­downs third and Chiefs fourth.

Su­per­Sport, the other mem­ber of the Gaut­eng-based “Rich 5”, will also hope to climb a few spots from their cur­rent sev­enth well be­fore the sea­son ends, although their chal­lenge in­cludes hav­ing an in­ex­pe­ri­enced head coach in Kai­tano Tembo.

But all of these sides have tax­ing as­sign­ments this week­end, with the high­light be­ing Pitso Mosi­mane’s Sun­downs look­ing to build to­mor­row af­ter­noon on their dom­i­nant mid­week vic­tory over Free State Stars when they en­ter­tain an equally-up­beat Pi­rates out­fit.

FIX­TURES

TO­DAY

Mar­itzburg v High­lands — 8 pm TO­MOR­ROW

Ar­rows v Baroka — 3.30 pm Sun­downs v Pi­rates — 3.30 pm Chiefs v Chippa — 6 pm

Wits v Celtic — 8.15 pm

Free State v Su­per­Sport — 8.15 pm SUN­DAY

AmaZulu v Polok­wane — 3.30 pm CT City v Leop­ards — 3.30 pm

STAND­INGS

Team Pi­rates Wits Sun­downs Chiefs Celtic Polok­wane Su­per­Sport Free State Ar­rows High­lands CT City Leop­ards Chippa Mar­itzburg Baroka AmaZulu P 12 10 9 12 9 10 9 13 11 9 9 10 9 8 11 9 W 6 6 4 4 5 5 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 D 4 2 5 5 2 2 3 4 6 5 4 3 2 4 4 3 L 2 2 0 3 2 3 2 6 3 2 3 5 5 3 6 4 F:A Pts 16:11 22 14:4 20 12:6 17 15:11 17 9:5 17 9:7 17 11:8 15 11:17 13 7:8 12 8:8 11 11:12 10 8:14 9 6:10 8 2:5 7 5:11 7 7:14 3

PHOTO: GALLO IM­AGES

Richard Ofori will be back to bol­ster the Mar­itzburg United back­line in tonight’s league clash with High­lands Park at Harry Gwala Sta­dium.

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