Maritzburg United have experienced two negative developments amid their general improvement in the DStv Premiership’s relegation dogfight.
In this situation of mixed fortunes, the 13th-placed outfit have yet to receive a positive response from the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to their request for a change of fixtures that they view as being very tight for the closing period of the season.
Moreover, they are likely to lose one of their top midfielders, Mxolisi Kunene, at the end of the season for free, the “Team of Choice” confirmed on Tuesday.
Coach Ernst Middendorp’s much-improved men are currently in recess, but will have to play three games over the last eight days of April and seven across May to complete the season.
This was as a result of the pushing back of three of their recent fixtures for reasons out of their hands, notably allowances the PSL had to make for CAF inter-club and Nedbank Cup games.
Middendorp’s bosses asked for one match to be played before their tie with Baroka next Friday, or at least one game from May’s schedule be moved back to June to lessen their physical and travel burdens.
“But now we will just have to soldier on. We just have to make sure we keep picking up points, as we have done in recent games,” said club boss Farook Kadodia, whose side were third-best in the latest five-match form guide.
His warriors are currently seven points clear of last-placed Leopards, three ahead of second-bottom Chippa and one clear of third-last Tshakhuma.
“We do also have two games in hand over Leopards and Chippa, but those are tough ones against Sundowns and Pirates, where nothing will be guaranteed for us. So, all we can do is keep looking for points to stay ahead of the bottom two sides in the league at least,” said Kadodia. He also confirmed that hard-running midfielder Kunene’s contract will be expiring in June and the player has yet to agree to a new one.
This is despite the fact that Maritzburg have had to cover the player’s recovery from a serious injury since the end of last season.
Kunene has yet to feature this season but stands to leave the club as a free agent when his contract ends.
“Unfortunately, there has been no movement in this regard and we are currently looking at the player leaving for free come the end of the season, unless something changes before then,” said Kadodia.
Meanwhile, Baroka will host Chiefs in the league on Thursday afternoon.
HOW THEY STAND