BUSTLING right winger Sipho Mngomezulu has been the surprise form player in Maritzburg United’s good start to the Premier Soccer League season.
Mngomezulu is one of just six players retained from the squad that won promotion from the First Division, where last season he shared the right wing with now released Justice Sithole.
Back in the PSL, the former Wits University and SuperSport United winger has been on fire. He impressed in the 1-1 draw against Ajax Cape Town, was man of the match with a goal and an assist in the 3-2 win over Kaizer Chiefs, and gave Bloemfontein Celtic all sorts of problems in Sunday’s 1-1 away draw.
“The way the coach wants us to play suits my game,” Mngomezulu said yesterday of his burst in form. “He gives us freedom to express ourselves and his tactics have made it easy for me to play well.”
United’s pacy attacking game is tailor-made for Mngomezulu, who enjoys bombing it down the right touchline. The winger says the quality of players he has around him has also helped improve his performance.
“To me, it’s the team and the team spirit that we have,” Mngomezulu said. “No-one expects anything from this team, so there is no pressure on us.
“I am playing my own game, and with the people I have around me, from my team-mates to the coach, it has helped to take my game to a new level.
“The coach has spoken to me and said that if I can carry on like this, I might even be able to play for Bafana, because there is a lack of right wingers for the national team. For the coach to believe in me, and the team as a whole, is a positive for us.”
Mngomezulu said United need to keep their feet on the ground after their good start.
“We are taking it a game at a time. Today we had a long talk at the beginning of the training session about the way things are going. We know it is still early days and we need to focus, and not think about the past weeks.
“Right now, we are focusing on the game against AmaZulu, and just want to continue doing well,” Mngomezulu said.
The winger said a new-look team, most of whom have played just three games together, are starting to gel.
“The players the coach has brought in are experienced, and have all played in the PSL before. That makes it easier to get the team together, and I think we will improve with each game.”
United will be delighted to have five points from their tough first three fixtures. And things don’t get any easier as the Pietermaritzburg team now face AmaZulu on Saturday in a difficult KZN derby at Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale.
United have the disadvantage that they can’t play the home fixture in Pietermaritzburg because Woodburn Stadium’s pitch is being brought up to standard.
“They just keep on coming,” Mngomezulu said of the tough programme. “But if we can go out and play the way coach wants us to, hopefully we can get a result.”
United captain Bageta Dikilu has a slight strain and striker Fadlu Davids has a knee irritation, though both should be fit by Saturday. Defender Gary Goldstone is suspended.
• Tickets at Computicket, SuperSave and the club offices in Victoria Road. Call 033 392 4551 to find out about free buses.