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By Sibongiseni Gumbi

Football Writer

Maritzburg banking on home ground advantage as they begin playoffs

Maritzburg will have to finish top of the three team mini-league to retain their Premiership status.

The journey back to the DStv Premiership for Maritzburg United starts on Wednesday evening when they host Casric Stars in their first game in the promotion playoffs. 

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Maritzburg will have to finish top of the three team mini-league to retain their Premiership status. And coach Fadlu Davids says they will apply the same intensity that saw them survive straight relegation. 

The KwaZulu-Natal side had been bottom of the standings throughout the season and only jumped up on the last day of league matches. 

A draw away at Mamelodi Sundowns earned them a valuable point. Marumo Gallants’ loss to Swallows in their last game meant they kept the automatic relegation spot. 

“Our expectations are quite clear, knowing where we have come from,” said Davids ahead of the game. 

“ We have been in the situation halfway through the season with people already branding us as relegated. But we fought our way out of the bottom of the log on the last day of the season and onto the playoffs on goal difference. 

“And that lifeline, we will not take it for granted. We will approach with the same mentality that we have in the last few games – branding these games as cup finals,” added the Maritzburg mentor. 

Maritzburg not thinking about holidays yet

It will be the first time Maritzburg meets Casric Stars who finished third in their first season in the Motsepe Foundation Championship. 

“We have never played them before, but we have analysed them in great detail and we have seen them in their own environment. 

“We have seen them play away from home, we have seen them in the playoffs mindset. That’s a different structure because it’s a round robin where you play four games to get to the top. 

“We now know the different scenarios they can project but we are playing at night at Harry Gwala in front of our home crowd and we have to use that as an advantage.”

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Davids says his players are not on holiday mode yet as they know they still have a lot of work to do to keep the club’s top flight status.

“We try not to look at everybody who is on holiday. This is our lifeline we have been given. We are not looking at it as a hindrance but as a huge lifeline that we will take with both hands.” 

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