• 8 OCT 2019
Kwanda Mngonyama & Thabang Monare © Gallo Images

Maritzburg United and Bidvest Wits will meet in the Telkom Knockout Cup for the second year running when they lock horns in a last-16 tie at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday evening. Kick-off is at 8pm CAT, live on SuperSport and streaming through DStv Now.

The Team of Choice head into the fixture on the back of back-to-back 1-0 home wins over Chippa United and Baroka FC in the league before the international break. The KwaZulu-Natal team will be looking to bring that momentum into the TKO.

Maritzburg have never won the Telkom Knockout, nor reached the final, while last season they got as far as the quarterfinals.

Coach Eric Tinkler, though, is confident that his team can continue their winning trend on home soil as they prepare to face an in-form Wits outfit.

“I think first and foremost the most important thing is that we come from good home victories, good home wins and obviously we have started to create a very good record especially here at home on Friday nights, because we’ve gone 14 games here at home on a Friday night that we haven’t lost,” Tinkler said.

“We would like to keep that momentum going, we would like to build on the two wins that we’ve got in the league to keep growing the confidence and belief in the squad. So winning the opener on Friday can only boost the morale and that confidence.”

Wits were last in action in early October, with a 1-0 away win over Chippa United in a league game. The Johannesburg club has racked up four wins from their last five matches across all competitions and will enter the TKO full of confidence.

The Clever Boys are three-time Telkom Knockout champions (most recently in 2017) and reached the semifinals last season before they were beaten by eventual competition winners Baroka FC.

“Everything is important and at Wits the next game becomes our priority, so we will be looking to go all the way in this one as with any competition,” Wits midfielder Thabang Monare said in build-up to the fixture.

“We don’t want to talk about what comes first or not. We have enough quality to win everything. There were aspects of last season that were disappointing because we didn’t win. As a team we are always motivated.”

“We have shown that we have pedigree in this cup and can do well. We won it the previous season [in 2017] and last season we lost in the semifinal,” he concluded.


Mxolisi Kunene: The Team of Choice winger played a starring role in Maritzburg’s successive wins before the international break and will be eager to carry that form into this weekend’s fixture. Kunene is fast, direct and will cause the Wits defence problems. Other than that he creates and scores goals, as recently proven, something he would like to do more frequently going forward.

Ricard Ofori: The Ghanaian shot-stopper recorded two clean sheets in his last two fixtures and one can only imagine that Wits will test his abilities to the fullest. Ofori has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league and will play an integral role if Maritzburg are to advance in the cup.


Buhle Mkhwanazi: The Bafana Bafana defender has struck up a superb relationship with Thulani Hlatshwayo over the past few seasons and the two form the core of a solid Wits defensive line. That line, though, will be tested against a determined Maritzburg unit and Mkhwanazi could have an important role to play in keeping the hosts at arm’s length as Wits aim to book their place in the next round.

Deon Hotto: The Clever Boys’ main attacking threat over the last season and a bit, Hotto has already scored three goals and assisted a further two this season. Gavin Hunt will be hoping that the Namibia international can continue his consistent form as the visitors aim to break Maritzburg’s impressive home run under the Friday lights.© Backpage TXT


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