Maritzburg and Baroka in basement battle

Both Maritzburg United and Baroka FC will be desperate to end the year on a high with victory in their Absa Premiership showdown at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermartizburg on Saturday evening.

Kick-off is at 8:15 CAT.

Maritzburg have gone eight league matches without a win, having suffered a 1-0 defeat at SuperSport United earlier this month. The KwaZulu-Natal club last claimed a three-pointer in September when they defeated Bloemfontein Celtic away.

The Team of Choice has claimed just six points from seven (winless) home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 1-1 draw with Black Leopards.

Baroka come into the game rooted to the bottom of the log standings (the only team below Maritzburg) after they suffered a seventh defeat of the season, going down 2-1 at home to Bidvest Wits last weekend.

Bakgaga have claimed just four points from seven away matches this season, with their last result on the road a goalless draw at Mamelodi Sundowns.

Last season Maritzburg completed a league ‘double’ over Bakgaga by winning 3-0 at the Harry Gwala Stadium in December 2017 and 2-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in April 2018.

Most recent starting XI:

Maritzburg United: Ofori, de Reuck, Xulu, Onyango, Sanoka (Atouba 73’), Figueredo (Makgalwa 73’), Makaringe, Ndlovu, Kunene, Mekoa, Mokate (Zakri 84’).

Baroka FC: Chipezeze, Sememya, Makume (Banda 29’), Sibiya, Gebhardt, Mosele, Mdantsane, Chawapiwa, Sodi, Mabeba (Makgantai 54’), Dickens (Chivaviro 70’).

Head-to-Head Statistics

ALL LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2016/17 Baroka 0-1 Maritzburg Van Wyk

2016/17 Maritzburg 3-1 Baroka Mngonyama, Mokate, Fransman; Garcia

2017/18 Maritzburg 3-0 Baroka Rusike 2, Ndlovu

2017/18 Baroka 0-2 Maritzburg Shandu, Ndlovu

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2016/17)

Home

P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 2 2 0 0 6 1

Baroka 2 0 0 2 0 3

Away

P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 2 2 0 0 3 0

Baroka 2 0 0 2 1 6

Total

P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 4 4 0 0 9 1

Baroka 4 0 0 4 1 9

What the teams are saying

Maritzburg United head coach Fadlu Davids

“We have a home game against Baroka before we close and that is what we have to focus on,” said Davids.

“It’s just disappointing for the players – to give everything like they did [in our last game] and still come out with nothing is disappointing.

“We have to be brave and keep our heads up.”

Baroka FC head coach Wedson Nyirenda

“There is nothing to panic about,” said Nyirenda.

“We have a team that can do wonders. We have to concentrate on what we are doing. There is nothing wrong with the team now. We have players who can play. In our next coming games we just need to concentrate.

“I think some fatigue was at play. You can understand some of the players are young and played many games in less than 10 days. I think it has been too much for them.”

Maritzburg United key players

Siyanda Xulu: It has been a rollercoaster of a ride for the Team of Choice captain who returned to form in the KZN province. But, for all the positives from last season, the Team of Choice are now a team firmly entrenched in a relegation battle. With just one win from 14 matches, this weekend is almost do-or-die for the club as they aim to at least end the year on a positive not. Xulu will be the man entrusted with leading the club to all three points.

Fortune Makaringe: Heavily linked with a move away from the club in the upcoming transfer window, Makaringe has been one of the shining beacons for a struggling Team of Choice this season. The KZN club will be desperate to hold onto his service until at least the end of the season, but first they’ll count on the midfield dynamo to run the show in what they hope will be their second three pointer of the campaign.

Baroka FC key players

Elvis Chipezeze: The man on everybody’s lips following the Telkom Knockout Cup final and ensuing goalless draw away to the league champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Chipezeze has been a man on form between the sticks for Bakgaga. He is expected to be in for another busy league outing this weekend and if the Limpopo side are to end a historic year on a high, they will need their shot-stopper to be at his best.

Talent Chawapiwa: Not been quiet up to his best so far this season, Nyirenda will be desperate for the wing-wizard to kick into gear starting this weekend and going into 2019. If he starts to fire, opposition defences should beware and Maritzburg will be hoping that they are not the team he finds his groove against.

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