Lebohang Maboe one of the shining lights at Maritzburg United

14 September 2017 - 15:23 By Sazi Hadebe
Lebohang Maboe of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership match against Ajax Cape Town at Harry Gwala Stadium on August 23, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Lebohang Maboe of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership match against Ajax Cape Town at Harry Gwala Stadium on August 23, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Those closely associated with Maritzburg United shouldn’t have much to complain about regarding their start to the 2017/18 league campaign.

After three rounds‚ Maritzburg share the top of the log status with Friday night's visitors Orlando Pirates.

A total of seven out of a possible nine points is not bad a return for the KwaZulu-Natal club known for their regular battles against relegation in the topflight of SA football.

The early positive signs should see the cash-strapped shareholders content with the current state of affairs.

They will be praying that the current form eventually translates to the team sealing a second successive top eight finish come May 2018.

As the progress at Maritzburg becomes more and more visible‚ one of the questions being bandied about is who has made the real difference.

Maritzburg were relegated in 2006/07‚ their second season in the PSL.

Since coming back in 2008/09 they never managed a top eight finish until Steve Komphela helped them earn a place in 2014/15.

A similar feat was again achieved with Fadlu Davids (although as an assistant and interim coach) last season.

A novice coach‚ Davids (36) is one of those currently being showered with praise for the way he’s prepared his charges this season.

The accolades given to Davids are almost identical to those placed on the broad shoulders of another greenhorn – Benni McCarthy - who has also surprised all and sundry with the way he began his coaching career at Cape Town City.

But surely‚ it takes more than one man to transform a team that’s been in the doldrums like Maritzburg.

Finding those responsible for the upturn is not an arduous chore with Davids having managed to polish a couple of young raw diamonds into recognizable future stars.

One of the shining lights is versatile attacking midfielder Lebohang Maboe (22) who is in his second season and holding his own against the league's best after joining the club from First Division outfit Mbombela United last season.

Breaking into the first team was not easy‚ though‚ for the Ratanda (Gauteng) born Maboe.

After being handed his debut in October he’s never looked back.

These days if Maboe is not chipping in with some vital goals (he scored three last season)‚ he’s found among those supplying the key final touches to the strikers.

“I’m really pleased with the way I’ve been contributing to the team’s progress‚” said the soft-spoken Maboe on Thursday.

“My goal is to make sure I make the team tick.

"But on top of that‚ scoring is one of the main tasks I’ve committed myself to this season.

"I’m eager to score more than I did last season.”

Maboe already has a league goal to his name this season after netting when they beat Platinum Stars 2-0 away from their base.

Who can forget another cracker he slotted when they drew 1-1 away with SuperSport United in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final?

Talking about their fourth league outing‚ they will host (8pm on Friday night at Harry Gwala Stadium)‚ an improved Pirates and Maboe said they will be gunning for nothing less than three points.

“Our main aim this season is to win all our home matches no matter who we are up against.

"We know that Pirates is a big team but we’ll leave that outside the field‚” said Maboe with some conviction.

Having started this season with the kind of poise he has shown‚ who can dare question Maboe’s positivity about tonight’s encounter against the once mighty Bucanneers?

- TimesLIVE