Maritzburg coach Eric Tinkler wants a good run in TKO
Maritzburg United’s narrow escape from potential relegation last season might have focused the club’s minds on ensuring their league status first in this new campaign, but coach Eric Tinkler wants to give winning the Telkom Knockout a full tilt as well.
“We’d like to go as far as we possibly can in this cup,” he said in the build-up to Friday night’s opening quarter-final tie, where Maritzburg host Highlands Park at Harry Gwala Stadium (kickoff 8pm).
But that does not mean the focus on the league is now blurry, Tinkler added.
Maritzburg are straight back into league action on Tuesday, away against Orlando Pirates in Soweto where they will be looking for a shock win to add to their run of three successive 1-0 triumphs in the Absa Premiership.
“We’ve had enough time since our last match [a 1-0 win over Cape Town City last Friday] to prepare for Highlands Park but then we have a short turnaround before the Pirates game,” Tinkler said.
“But we’ve been working on that, especially in the Fifa breaks where we played a friendly match every two days to get the players used to that quick turnaround and the recovery period, which is very short.
“I think it’s worse for Orlando Pirates than it is for us, to be brutally honest. We have everything to gain whereas for Pirates it’s probably a lot harder.
“They’ve got two derbies in-between having to play us. And we all know exactly how important the derbies are to Orlando Pirates. Hopefully the focus won’t be on us.”
Pirates meet Chiefs in Saturday’s TKO Soweto derby at Moses Mabhida Stadium, then play a second derby against Amakhosi in the league next Saturday (November 9) at FNB Stadium, on either side of their game against Maritzburg.