Wits knocked out: Eric Tinkler happy Maritzburg United practised penalties
Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler was thankful he had his team practice penalties for three days in a row ahead of their shootout Telkom Knockout victory against Bidvest Wits‚ not least for the practise it gave to goalkeeper Bongani Mpandle.
Tinkler surprised giving Mpandle a rare start in goal ahead of regular No 1 Richard Ofori on Friday night at Harry Gwala Stadium.
The 27-year-old keeper made two saves – one easy‚ and one off his legs – in the penalty shootout‚ won 3-1 by the home team after normal and extra time both ended 1-1.
United’s coach praised his defence‚ who he said held Wits on a night when Tinkler admitted his team had not been convincing and largely been shaded by Gavin Hunt’s Clever Boys.
“Rushine [de Reuck] I thought was absolutely phenomenal‚ Siyanda [Xulu] playing the defensive midfield role was fantastic. Nazeer Allie‚ even with his age‚ still shows the quality that he has‚” Tinkler said afterwards.
“I think we practiced penalties three days in a row. I try to create a bit of pressure where if a player misses his first penalty its R100; miss the second one and it’s another R150.
“It’s not the same‚ hey. You put them in front of that crowd‚ and now it means something.
“I think it was six of the 11 who went‚ ‘Don’t choose me coach’. In training [players are] happy to take the penalties.
“But the only person who benefited from it‚ actually‚ I think was Bongani.
"He had to do a lot of defending of penalties over the last three days‚ and I think that’s what got us the result.”
Tinkler hinted he might rotate Mpandle and Ghanaian keeper Ofori more this season.
He said playing Mpandle in the TKO had nothing to do with giving a keeper a chance in a cup competition‚ as coaches often do.
“There’s no cup. It’s a rotation policy. Richard needed a break and this was an opportunity for Bongani to come and show what he’s made of‚” Tinkler explained.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say‚ ‘You’re playing in the cup’. If we get knocked out‚ what happens to him then?
“I think if he comes in and gets his opportunity and plays well‚ he can stay in the team.
“But we have two great goalkeepers – both Bongani and Richard. So there needs to be that competition between the two.”