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Maritzburg United coach aims to add to Chiefs’ league troubles

Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp will face Kiazer Chiefs for the first time on Saturday since he was fired by the Soweto giants last year.

Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp will face Kiazer Chiefs for the first time on Saturday since he was fired by the Soweto giants last year.

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Exactly five months after he was sacked by Kaizer Chiefs, Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp will return to face his former club in the DStv Premiership on Saturday with an aim to add to their problems.

Maritzburg and Amakhosi are set to meet at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg at 5 pm on Saturday.

“It’s going to be an emotional game [against Maritzburg United], but business is business, so we will talk on the pitch.”

Kaizer Chiefs striker, Lazaraus Kambole

Middendorp, who is in his fourth coaching stint with the Team of Choice, was released by Chiefs in September after he failed to lead the Soweto giants to league glory as they finished second to Mamelodi Sundowns.

However, things have not gone so well for Amakhosi this season under coach Gavin Hunt as they are deep in the bottom half of the table and are still serving a two-window transfer ban.

Read more: ‘No time to relax’, Middendorp warns Maritzburg United players

Chiefs striker Lazaraus Kambole insisted on the need to put emotions aside and focus on what they need to do on the day. “It’s going to be an emotional game, but business is business, so we will talk on the pitch,” said Kambole.

Like Chiefs, Maritzburg, who started the season with coach Eric Tinkler, also had a tough start this season as they had to wait for nine matches before they could register their first win.

DSTV PREMIERSHIP FIXTURES

Friday

Stellenbosch v Leopards — 5 pm

Saturday

TS Galaxy v SuperSport — 3 pm

Baroka v Sundowns — 3 pm

Arrows v Chippa — 3.30 pm

Tshakhuma v CT City — 5 pm

Chiefs v Maritzburg — 5 pm

Sunday

Celtic v AmaZulu — 3.30 pm

Pirates v Swallows — 3.30 pm

United defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 last weekend and now have five points to their name, while the Glamour Boys have managed just seven points from eight matches in the Premiership. They have also won one match.

However, Amakhosi will head to the game in high spirits following their recent qualification for the Caf Champions League group stages for the first time in their history.

Hunt’s men defeated Angolan side Primeiro de Agosto 1-0 on aggregate to achieve the feat.

Zambian forward Kambole expects Maritzburg to also be motivated by the way they performed against MTN8 finalists Celtic last weekend.

“Coming from the win [against Bloemfontein Celtic], I think they [Maritzburg United] are motivated so it’s not going to be easy ...”

Kaizer Chiefs striker, Lazaraus Kambole

“Coming from the win, I think they are motivated so it’s not going to be easy ...,” he said.

Maritzburg defender Tebogo Tlolane said they are raring to go but warned that Chiefs are not going to be easy in spite of their struggles in the league.

“We know that they are not doing well in the league and their position says it all, but they are still a big team — it’s still Kaizer Chiefs and they’ve got very good players. So, we shouldn’t think that it would be an easy game for us.”

Maritzburg United defender, Tebogo Tlolane

“We know that they are not doing well in the league and their position says it all, but they are still a big team — it’s still Kaizer Chiefs and they’ve got very good players. So, we shouldn’t think that it would be an easy game for us,” said Tlolane.

Meanwhile, English Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed the return of Percy Tau from Anderlecht after securing a work permit for the South African star.

Read more: Maritzburg United offers good environment, says new veteran defender Daniels

Tau (26) has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons on loan since joining Brighton from Mamelodi Sundowns in a club-record R50 million sale but was unable to be registered due to paperwork issues.

However, the regulation changes following Brexit this year has seen Tau’s experience for club and country over the last 24 months taken into consideration to secure his long-awaited move to the South Coast of England.

HOW THEY STAND

Team P W D L GD Pts Sundowns 9 6 3 0 12 21 Swallows 9 6 3 0 8 21 SuperSport 8 5 1 2 4 16 CT City 9 4 3 2 2 15 Pirates 8 3 4 1 2 13 Arrows 8 2 6 0 4 12 Stellenbosch 9 3 3 3 0 12 Baroka 9 3 3 3 -1 12 AmaZulu 8 2 3 3 0 9 Celtic 8 2 2 4 -2 8 Galaxy 9 1 5 3 -3 8 TTM 8 1 5 2 -3 8 Chiefs 8 1 4 3 -4 7 Chippa 9 1 3 5 -5 6 Maritzburg 9 1 2 6 -7 5 Leopards 8 1 2 5 -7 5
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