Maritzburg out to build on promising start

Maritzburg United will be aiming to build on their promising start to the 2017/18 season with victory over Ajax Cape Town in an Absa Premiership clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm, CAT.

The Team of Choice followed an impressive MTN8 quarterfinal win over Mamelodi Sundowns with a 2-0 victory away to Platinum Stars, as the KwaZulu-Natal side continue to grow in confidence.

Fadlu Davids’ troops will now set their sights on a third win in succession, and will fancy their chances against a side they beat home and away last season.

In contrast, the Urban Warriors kicked-off their campaign with an underwhelming 1-1 stalemate against Golden Arrows in the Mother City. Rivaldo Coetzee, who will soon be joining Glasgow Celtic, with his first and only goal for the club as they rescued a point on home soil.

Ajax Cape Town struggled away from home last season, winning just three of their 15 games on the road. Coach Stanley Menzo will target a stronger showing on their travels this term, starting with this clash in Pietermaritzburg.

In head-to-head stats, Maritzburg and Ajax have met in 22 league matches since 2005/06. The Team of Choice has claimed nine wins compared to seven for the Urban Warriors, while six matches have been drawn. United have a strong home record against the Cape team, with eight wins and just two defeats from 11 turns as hosts.

Predicted Starting 11:

Maritzburg United: Mpandle, Xulu, Fransman, Sanoka, Shandu, Ndlovu, Makaringe , Mekoa, Maboe, Van Wyk, Rusike

Ajax Cape Town: Petersen, Isaacs, Sait, Nhlapo,Lebusa, Mdabuka, Margeman, Kabwe, Mzwakali, Makua, Morris

Head-to-Head record:


Season Result Scorers

2012/13 Ajax 1-0 Maritzburg Losper

2012/13 Maritzburg 1-1 Ajax Smeekes; Khenyeza

2013/14 Ajax 3-1 Maritzburg Rodgers, Manyama 2; Buckley

2013/14 Maritzburg 2-0 Ajax Jayiya, Morton (pen)

2014/15 Ajax 0-0 Maritzburg

2014/15 Maritzburg 1-0 Ajax Mokate

2015/16 Ajax 3-1 Maritzburg Nxumalo 2, Paulse; Teyise

2015/16 Maritzburg 1-0 Ajax Mkhize

2016/17 Ajax 1-2 Maritzburg Mayambela; Maboe, Mekoa

2016/17 Maritzburg 2-1 Ajax Fileccia, Onyango; Funga

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2005/06)



Maritzburg 11 8 1 2 16 8

Ajax 11 5 5 1 18 10



Maritzburg 11 1 5 5 10 18

Ajax 11 2 1 8 8 16



Maritzburg 22 9 6 7 26 26

Ajax 22 7 6 9 26 26

What the teams are saying:

Maritzburg United head coach Fadlu Davids:

“We have our first three points, and we have another three points to play for on Wednesday.

“As the game went on [against Platinum Stars] we got stronger towards the end and that was a good sign.

“It’s a completely different game, at home game against Ajax. We saw how good they are [against Arrows on Saturday], it will definitely be a tough match and our guys are going to have to be up for it.”

Ajax Cape Town head coach Stanley Menzo:

"We know how Maritzburg play so we have to try and figure a way out to combat that.

"I will almost say: 'give them the ball and counter that'. But can we do that, are we equipped to do that? That is the question.

"One thing is for certain, though, we won't play as expansive as we did against Arrows - we have to be realistic - I know Maritzburg will want to hit us on the counter, but yes, against them we have to be more cautious.

"It is important that we pick up our first win, I am not happy with the result we got over the weekend, but a point is something, and hopefully we can build on that with three on Wednesday evening.”

Key Players for Maritzburg United:

Ajax Cape Town know how dangerous Deolin Mekoa can be and the winger will be eager to build on his solid start to the season. Evans Rusike has also hit the ground running and the forward will be key to the KZN club’s success this season, with goals hard to come by in the South African top-flight.

Moreover, in Bevan Fransman the Team of Choice have a natural leader and someone that will push his teammates that extra mile. He will await a physical challenge against a usually imposing Urban Warriors No 9.

Key Players for Ajax Cape Town:

Following the sale of Rivaldo Coetzee to Glasgow Celtic, someone will have to try and fill his massive shoes. Isaac Nhalpo was outstanding in his debut for the club - not your typical Urban Warriors ball-playing defender - but a no-nonsense hardman, something the club have been lacking. He could join captain Mosa Lebusa at the heart of defence, while Roscoe Pietersen continues to miss through suspension.

Furthermore, In Grant Margeman the club have a real gem. The midfield dynamo is a star of the future and already an integral member of the squad. Going forward, though, is Ajax’s biggest problem and either Morris, Sedwyn George or Prince Nxumalo will have to bring goals.