Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
19 May 2019
11:54 am

Can Tinkler save Maritzburg’s Premiership status?

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Eric Tinkler's coaching CV was relatively impressive before he joined struggling Maritzburg United.

Eric Tinkler (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

He’d had good stints at Orlando Pirates, where he cut his teeth as a head coach, Cape Town City, SuperSport United and Chippa United. The only blots in his CV were that he had been unceremoniously fired at both SuperSport and Chippa.

But that could all change if he fails to help the Team of Choice avoid relegation, as he will have the stigma of having relegated a team attached to his name.

And it is not easy to get rid of it, as supporters will bring it up at any chance they get. But Tinkler is unlikely to be worried as he focuses on the job at hand.

They earned themselves a second chance at survival through the play-offs, where they fight against National First Division (NFD) sides Royal Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

“We are very, very happy to have avoided automatic relegation but there is a certain degree of disappointment in it. We would have loved to have avoided the play-offs,” he said.

Maritzburg begin their play-offs at home at Harry Gwala Stadium tomorrow against city rivals Eagles.

“We come off the back of three massive results, the players responded really well but playing the NFD teams is a different ball game. You have to have a different mindset, the fear factor is that you start lowering your level and you cannot afford to.

“You have to maintain professional standards, Premiership standards, and if you can do that then you can beat the NFD teams,” he added.

Eagles will go into this game confident after winning their opening match against Tshakhuma on Wednesday and are top of the three-team mini-league.

Eagles’ coach Bafana Nhlapo is looking to make a name for himself by helping the side to the Absa Premiership which will be a huge boost to his CV.

Speaking after Wednesday’s win, he said they are looking for another three points at Maritzburg and will not allow their more-fancied opponent to dictate the game.

 

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