/ 10 April 2012

Onus on Maritzburg to up their game

Maritzburg United need to up their display if they are to remain in the Premiership and be competitive in the their Nedbank Cup run, according to goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters.

“We really need to work on our approach and up our game a little bit from what it is at the moment,” said the 30-year-old, who was part of Bafana Bafana’s World Cup squad two years ago.

“And then what would be the point in doing well in the cup when we are suffering in the league?

“A top eight is a difficult prospect right now, in the short term, we need to work on getting out of the dog fight at the bottom half of the table.”

The team of choice threw away a first half lead to draw 1-1 with fellow strugglers Santos at the ‘Graveyard’ in Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

It was United’s 11th draw of the campaign — the most this season — as they remained in 13th place on the standings with 26 points after 24 games.

“We dominated the first half and then took our foot off the pedal. Maybe we panicked a little bit,” said Walters.

Desperate for points
“Santos were obviously also desperate for points and came at us.

“But the amount of draws we are playing are worrying because we are throwing away leads every time.”

The point came in handy for Santos, who are in 15th on the log with 20 points, and with just bottom-placed Jomo Cosmos below them.

United are preparing to face Mamelodi Sundowns in the cup quarterfinals in Atteridgeville on Saturday where Walters hoped that the Brazilians’ slump would continue.

“We obviously will work on being more compact and closing up shop at the back,” he said.

“But I also hope that they will be complacent and think that they will walk all over us.”

Rising to the occasion
United were semi-finalists in the South African FA Cup last year, losing to eventual winners Orlando Pirates in Chatsworth.

“This is a competition where smaller teams rise to the occasion,” Walters said.

“That is our motivation and being that we are playing a so-called big club and have nothing to lose.

“We will go all out and give it our best shot because I also think we have the quality that can see us get some silverware this season.”

In Sunday’s other league result, Bloemfontein Celtic and AmaZulu played a 1-1 draw at Free State Stadium.

AmaZulu, the 2010 finalists, meet Santos in the cup in KwaMashu on Sunday. — Sapa