Tough t ask f or Team o f Choic e

United will wear the un­der­dog tag bolder than ever be­fore against Chiefs

Weekend Witness - - Sport - LLOYD BURNARD PSL foot­ball Blat­ter con­firms he’ll stand for fifth term as Fifa boss

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.

PHOTO: GALLO

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.

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