Maritzburg, TTM set for relegation Battle

Maritzburg United and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila will meet for a 2020-21 DStv Premiership relegation six-pointer at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday.

Kick-off is at 5pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

Maritzburg suffered a third successive loss – and a ninth from 14 matches this season – when they were beaten 2-1 at KwaZulu-Natal rivals Golden Arrows on January 30. The Team of Choice has claimed just five points from seven home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 1-0 loss to Orlando Pirates in January.

“I think we did well as a team [in the Nedbank Cup win over Sekhukhune United] and we hope that will help us on Friday evening,” said Maritzburg forward Judas Moseamedi.

“Their [Tshakhuma’s] last game they played well, but from our side we’ve prepared well and the confidence is coming back and we are ready to collect all three points. If we are able to do that, collect the points, we will climb away from the relegation zone and that is important.”

Tshakhuma suffered a fifth straight loss – and saw their winless run extended to 10 matches – with a 1-0 defeat at Bloemfontein Celtic on January 30. Vhadau Vha Damani have taken just three points from seven away matches this season. The Limpopo club are still awaiting their first win on the road but will take confidence from their Nedbank Cup victory over SuperSport United.

“Very important match, at the bottom you look to latch onto anything that brings some sort of positivity and hope to the situation,” said TTM midfielder Miguel Timm, who will be taking aim at his former employers.

“It’s always going to be special. I felt very at home there [in Pietermaritzburg] and have a lot of close relationships with the staff and players.

“I conduct and apply myself in a professional manner on and off the field, so I can play regularly with confidence knowing I’m well prepared physically and physiologically, regardless of external factors beyond my control,” he added.

In head-to-head stats, this will be the first top-flight league meeting between Maritzburg United and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila. However, United beat TTM twice when the teams met in the promotion-relegation playoffs in May and June 2019.

Players to watch:

Maritzburg United

Thabiso Kutumela:With only three goals in 12 league matches this season, Kutumela has underperformed and will be aiming to become a more regular goalscorer in the second half of the league season. Maritzburg will be relying on him and Judas Moseamedi to become more consistent in front of goal.

Nazeer Allie:The veteran defender will have a key part to play as Maritzburg aim to stifle their league slump. Allie has started 12 of the club’s 14 league matches this season and will aiming to help the Team of Choice to only their third clean sheet of the campaign.

Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila

Alfred Ndengane:The former Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates centre-back is set to make a welcome return to the starting eleven. Ndengane returned from a two-match suspension with a man-of-the-match performance in the Nedbank Cup. TTM too have only kept two clean sheets in the league all season.

Thabo Mnyamane:For all their defensive problems, TTM have really struggled for goals. The Limpopo club have only scored seven times all season, none in their last five league matches, but in Mnyamane they have a proven goal-getter who will be aiming to build on his match-winning goal in the Nedbank Cup.

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