Friday Apr 21, 2023. 11:00
Maritzburg United and their battle to avoid relegation from the top-tier league will take centre stage in South Africa’s DStv Premiership this weekend.
The Team of Choice has been a mainstay in the top flight since 2008, staving off the threat of relegation to the second tier several times.
This season the KwaZulu-Natal club again finds itself in real trouble, placed bottom of the log on 24 points. They are two points adrift of Chippa United in the relegation playoff spot but have a game in hand on the Chilli Boys (who will not be in action this weekend).
Maritzburg face fellow KZN club Richards Bay at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night and will be desperate to stretch their opponent’s poor run: the Natal Rich Boyz have suffered eight straight defeats and gone 10 games without a win (across all competitions).
“We really plead that matches like this are televised, especially those of teams in the relegation fight,” Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids said in the wake of his team’s hard-fought 1-0 loss to Sekhukhune United on April 8. “A lot of things are happening here and we have to have a clear eye on these types of games.
“That is the first step to keep an eye on all these relegation fight games and the next point is that we need to play hard in the league. Besides that [questionable refereeing], we will be back… We will be fighting, we will be pushing in our next game.
“We will fight against all odds, against external factors we will go and we will push our heads up. And we will fight. Come our home game against Richards Bay, we will roll up our sleeves and fight.”
Saturday features a trio of games, the pick of which sees Orlando Pirates host Cape Town City at the Orlando Stadium. The Buccaneers were unconvincing in a penalty shootout win over minnows Dondol Stars last weekend, but nonetheless find themselves in a great position to fight for second place behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
The other two matches on Saturday pit TS Galaxy against Royal AM at the Mbombela Stadium, and Stellenbosch FC host Swallows FC at the Danie Craven Stadium. The Birds could yet be dragged into the relegation scrap and will need to up their game against a confident Stellies side that eliminated Sundowns from the Nedbank Cup last weekend.
Sunday’s mid-afternoon kick-off sees Sekhukhune United and Kaizer Chiefs – two teams who have progressed into the Nedbank Cup semifinals – meet at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, before the weekend is rounded out by SuperSport United and AmaZulu clashing at TUT Stadium, with Matsatsantsa chasing a key win in their push to claim a second-place finish.
DStv Premiership weekend fixtures
Friday 21 April
19:30: Maritzburg United v Richards Bay
Saturday 22 April
15:00: Orlando Pirates v Cape Town City
15:00: TS Galaxy v Royal AM
17:30: Stellenbosch FC v Swallows FC
Sunday 23 April
15:00: Sekhukhune United v Kaizer Chiefs
17:30: SuperSport United v AmaZulu