Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns can move into third place on
the Absa Premiership table if they beat lowly Maritzburg United at Loftus
Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday.
Off the back from their impressive 2-1 win over Kaizer
Chiefs 10 days ago, Pitso Mosimane's charges will certainly be targeting
another full haul of points against bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg when the
sides meet in Pretoria on Wednesday evening.
Maritzburg currently find themselves in a deep hole, having
lost four straight games over the past month. They haven't earned any points in
the league since a 1-1 draw with Black Leopards on December 12, and their last
victory in the South African top flight was way back in October, a 2-1 result
over Highlands Park.
With Muhsin Ertugral having come on board as their new coach
at the end of December, United fans will be hoping the 59-year-old's influence
is felt sooner rather than later.
One bright spot for The Team of Choice is that two new
forwards - Thabiso Kutumela, signed on a three-year deal from Orlando Pirates,
and Judas Moseamedi, on loan from Cape Town City - will be making their debuts
“Kutumela has been featuring regularly for Pirates but Judas
hasn’t been playing. These are natural strikers and we are hopeful that they
will help us. They will make a huge difference,” Ertugral told IOL website.
“We are in better shape now. Makaringe (Fortune) is back and
Kutumela has just come in. It is not going to be a quick fix, because we can’t
fix it in two matches. We haven’t scored more goals.
"When I arrived, the team had scored five goals (in 14
matches). It doesn’t start upfront, but it starts in the midfield. How you hold
the ball determines a lot of things. Having Ndlovu (Siphesihle) and Makaringe
will give us a different dimension."
Sundowns, meanwhile, will want to put Friday's disappointing
2-1 loss to Nigeria's Lobi Stars in the CAF Champions League behind them and
focus on their league exploits, where they've enjoyed much more success.
Mosimane's men have now gone 26 matches unbeaten in the
league, and should they overcome Maritzburg as widely expected, the Brazilians
will leapfrog Polokwane into third place on the table, putting them just three
points behind Orlando Pirates in second - with three additional games in hand.
Speaking to Soccer Laduma website, Sundowns forward Jeremy
Brockie says they won't be taking Maritzburg lightly, despite the club's lowly
position on the log.
“They (Maritzburg) are in quite a good position in terms of
that, they can come and express themselves, they can't do any worse than what
they have been doing of late," said the New Zealander.
“They are still a good team with quality players and if we
take our foot off the peddle then they’re likely to punish us, so it is
important that we get off to a good start and keep the pressure on the teams
above us we’ve got to make the most of these games in hand to keep climbing up
One area of concern for Downs will be Masandawana talisman
Gaston Sirino, who is sitting on three yellow cards and needs to avoid another
or face suspension.
The match gets under way at 19:30 on Wednesday evening.