The last 32 Nedbank Cup encounter takes place at the Athlone Stadium on Friday, 8pm kick off.
It’s been a hot week in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. And with the Team of Choice also having put in a taxing shift against Cape Town City (a 1-1 draw) in their most recent action, head coach Eric Tinkler explained how the technical team have been managing the players this week:
“Preparations have gone well, the mood in camp has been very good,” he said. “It’s been extremely hot so the intensity of training, we’ve tried to keep it as minimal as possible.
“This stage of the season if the players are not fit, then I don’t think they’ll ever be fit.
“It was a hard game against Cape Town City, playing with 10 men, so to a degree we’ve given the players quite a bit of rest.
“But this evening (Wednesday) will be our first real training session when we will increase the intensity.”
In terms of team news, coach Eric provided the following update:
“Pogiso Sanoka and Gabriel Nyoni both miss out on the game due to suspension. Judas Moseamedi is being assessed. Everyone else is available.”
Maritzburg can expect a tough match against a Stellenbosch side, which rather like themselves, began the campaign slowly but have picked up momentum over the past few months.
The game marks the opportunity for United to potentially embark on another exhilarating cup run, having reached the Nedbank Cup final two years ago and also having made it to the Telkom Knockout final less than two months back.
“The boys at the beginning of the season wanted to try get to a cup final, win a cup final,” the coach said.
“We’ve managed to do that but unfortunately we didn’t manage to pick up the trophy (following the 2-1 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final in December). Now they’ve got another opportunity to possibly go as far as we can in the Nedbank Cup.”
In terms of how the Team of Choice will approach Friday’s game, coach Eric says they should adopt the same mentality as when playing in the league.
“The most important thing is to keep the consistency – to keep that winning mentality.
“We need to remain that way – we can’t be going into this thinking it’s a cup competition it doesn’t matter if we lose - no, because you’re just going to carry that mentality into your next league match and you don’t want that.”
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