Fadlu: ‘I’m confident’
United coach urges fans to stay positive as he is optimistic the team will get back to winning ways
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.
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
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
Richard Ofori will be back to bolster the Maritzburg United backline in tonight’s league clash with Highlands Park at Harry Gwala Stadium.