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Football | Absa Premiership

Maritzburg, Highlands battle in quest to return to winning ways

Maritzburg United and Highlands Park will look for a return to winning form in the Absa Premiership when they lock horns at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday evening.

Kick-off is at 08:00pm CAT.

Maritzburg have managed just one win from their eight league matches this season and suffered a third defeat when they were beaten 1-0 at Polokwane City late last month.

The Team of Choice has claimed just three points from four home matches this season. Their last result as hosts was a goalless draw with Cape Town City in early October.

Highlands also suffered a defeat in their last league outing, going down 1-0 away to Bidvest Wits. The Tembisa-based club has recorded one win, one draw and one loss from their last three matches.

The Lions of the North have claimed just three points from five away matches this season, with their last two games on the road both ending in 1-0 defeats.

Most Recent Starting 11:

Maritzburg United: Ofori, Sanoka, Xulu, Shandu, Figariedo (Makgalwa 67'), De Reuck (Tlhone 88'), Allie, Makaringe, Zakri, Ndlovu, Mokate (Fileccia 81').

Highlands Park: Kapini, Sibande, Msimango (Mahlangu 86'), Fransman, Mokoena, Ramoraka, Mvala, Mbatha, Motlafi (Mbunjana 79'), Sekola, Shalulile (Haoseb 61').


Season Result Scorers
2016/17 Maritzburg 1-1 Highlands Saal; Sitayitayi 2016/17 Highlands 1-0 Maritzburg Moriri

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2016/17)

P W D L GF GA Maritzburg 1 0 1 0 1 1 Highlands 1 1 0 0 1 0

P W D L GF GA Maritzburg 1 0 0 1 0 1 Highlands 1 0 1 0 1 1

P W D L GF GA Maritzburg 2 0 1 1 1 2 Highlands 2 1 1 0 2 1

What They Said:

Maritzburg United head coach Fadlu Davids

"We are in a similar space to where we were last season,” said Davids. “The positive thing is we are really turning it around now.

"Beside this, we've got five clean sheets. We got the win against Celtic, we really are on the up. And the performance was on the up [against Polokwne City] as well, so it is really about finishing off our chances to open up that scoring for our team, because we really create a lot of chances. "We just need to score that first one and really open up the confidence to be able to score more."

Highlands Park head coach Owen Da Gama

“We go a long way back. I’m very happy for [Fadlu] Davids that he has progressed, he has been very patient,” said Da Gama. “I know he was actually offered this [Maritzburg United] job sometime ago and he refused, saying he first wants to learn and grow as an assistant coach.

“And he eventually took over as coach and I’m very proud. I think he is a quality coach and he is one for the future, there is no doubt about that.”

Key Players:

Maritzburg United
Pogiso Sanoka: The versatile defender has played every minute for the Team of Choice in the league this season, underling his importance to the club. Maritzburg boast a strong defensive unit and have kept five clean sheets from their nine games with their problems coming further up the field. Sanoka is somewhat of an unsung hero, but has attracted interest from some of the country’s biggest clubs in recent weeks.

Fortune Makaringe: While the likes of now Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Lebohang Maboe and star-midfielder Siphesihle Ndlovu having grabbed most of the headlines over the past few months, Makaringe has quietly gone about his ways. His good form for the Team of Choice has not gone unrecognized, though, with Stuart Baxter having included him in the latest Bafana Bafana squad.

Highlands Park
Mothobi Mvala: Highlands Park’s best player and one of the rising stars in South African football, Mvala is not only a solid defensive midfielder in every right, but also the club’s top goal scorer this season with three goals. At this rate, teams will be knocking on the Lions of the North’s door for his services.
Peter Shalulile: The Namibian’s return to action has come as a major boost for the Tembisa-based club with the attacker having played an integral role in their promotion last season. He will now be aiming to add a few goals to a string of promising performances.


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