Tough t ask f or Team o f Choic e
United will wear the underdog tag bolder than ever before against Chiefs
NOT unac customed t o being under dogs, Maritzburg United will wear that tag bolder than e ver before when they take on Kaizer Chiefs in a PSL clash at FNB St adium t onight.
Chiefs, newly crowned MTN8 champions, have won all 10 of their competitive matches this season and, f or now, they are accompanied by an air of invincibility. Short, neat passing and plenty of movement off of the b all has been the r ecipe f or c oach Stuart B axter’s charges so far, and it has brought plenty of success. But keeping the ball for extended periods is not the onl y ar ea where Chiefs have flourished this season. Pace out wide, s trong on defence and attack from set pieces, showing patience in their buildups whilst remaining lethal on the counterattack — there is qualit y e verywhere y ou look in the Chiefs squad. ZURICH — Fifa president Sepp Blatter confirmed y esterday that he w ould stand for a fifth term in charge of world football in an election in May next year.
“I have announced to the Executive Committee … that I will accept the demands of diff erent as sociations and federations [t o s tand f or election] t o serve Fifa for a fifth mandat e,” Blatter said.
The 78yearold has been Fifa’s leader since 1998, but has faced growing criticism from European football chiefs in recent months.
The World Cup, a multibillion dollar earner for Fifa, is also embroiled in
It all point s t owards a t ough night out f or S teve K omphela’s side.
United go into the match without the injured duo of v ersatile defender Ryan de Jongh (toe) and young winger Deolin Mekoa (knee), but they have an otherwise clean bill of health.
There has been little doubting Maritzburg’s ability under Komphela. Having lost just once this season, the Midlands boys have displayed a willingness to play the ball out from the back and have been impr essive both home and away with a lar gely y outhful squad against some t ough opposition.
Where Baxter has been methodical and rigid in his t eam selection so f ar this campaign, Komphela has been unpredictable — giving starts to a host of players as he continues to employ a rotation polic y.
The United mentor will have to keep one e ye on ne xt weekend, though, as Maritzburg will make their second trip to FNB in a week for the first round of the Telkom Knockout.
But, tonight, its all eyes on the league and while Maritzburg may know that they ar e w ell and trul y up ag ainst it, Chiefs ar e not t aking an ything f or granted.
“I haven’t watched a lot of M aritzburg this season, but they have been doing well and I know that they are a good side,” Chiefs striker Kingston Nkhatha told Weekend Witness. “Our coach will have been looking at them, though, and we know that if we listen to him we will be ok ay.”
Chiefs capt ain T efu M ashamaite, who was called up to the Bafana Bafana squad this week, has been around long enough t o kno w a lit tle mor e about Maritzburg. “We know that they [Maritzburg] are always on top of their game when w e pla y them both home and away,” Mashamaite, who scored the only goal of the g ame in las t S aturday’s MTN8 final win over Orlando Pirates, told Kick off.com this w eek. “W e will have a couple of sessions of video analysis and pr epare well ag ainst them.”
On paper, Chiefs should have far too much for a spirit ed and b rave Maritzburg. B ut, as w e ha ve seen c ountless times bef ore, the t eam sheet doe sn’t win the football match by itself. Maritzburg have an opportunit y t o be giant killers tonight, and if the y come away from Johannesburg with anything other than a los, they will arrive back home with a feather in their cap and all of the confidence in the world as they prepare for cup f ootball ne xt weekend. controversy over the way the 2018 and 2022 t ournaments were decided.
His path to a virtually automatic reelection was opened up after Uefa leader Michel Platini announc ed in A ugust that he w ould not challeng e Blat ter.
“First of all I’ m not running — I’ m at their disposal. F ifa is a servic e and I want to go on serving ,” Blatter said, stressing that his fourth term as president of w orld f ootball had y et t o run its full t erm and that F ifa was “not at the end of our r eform”.
“I have been contacted, I have been asked, just before the [preWorld Cup] congress in São Paulo by five of the six confederations saying ‘please s tay and be our president’ because, at the time, they say we have no other candidat e.”
Blatter said after winning his fourth term in 2011 that it w ould be his las t, but made it clear in recent months that he has chang ed his mind.
The election will be held at the next Fifa congress in Zurich on May 29, 2015, with candidac y bids open until J anuary 29. So far the only other candidate is J erome Champ agne, a f ormer F ifa deputy secr etarygeneral fr om France.
Champagne (56) has said Fifa needs reform after widespread accusations of corruption, but has ackno wledged he has lit tle chanc e of beating Blat ter.
Turning to the probe into the way the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded, Blatter said there had been “no request” from any Fifa member to publish in full the report by Michael Garcia, the former U .S. f ederal pr osecutor no w spearheading allegations of corruption in those t wo bids.
HansJoachim E ckert, the chairper son of F ifa’s adjudicat ory chamber , which will decide on the futur e of the report and whether it will be published, is expected to make a statement on the findings in ear ly November.
— S apaAFP.
Chiefs c aptain T efu Mashamait e will hope t o k eep his eam’s winning w ays on tr ack when the y ho st Maritzbur g Unit ed at FNB S tadium t onight.