Maritzburg captain Nazeer Allie: 'For me‚ Chiefs are a big team'
Maritzburg United captain Nazeer Allie believes his team’s Telkom Knockout semifinal opponents Kaizer Chiefs have a big squad with quality in depth‚ so will not be majorly affected by absentees on Sunday.
Chiefs meet Maritzburg in Sunday’s second semifinal at Mbombela Stadium after Lamontville Golden Arrows host Mamelodi Sundowns at Durban’s Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday.
Amakhosi have been hit by suspensions to three big players – goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi‚ centreback Erick Mathoho and defensive midfielder Willard Katsande.
Allie‚ the experienced‚ unflappable former Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits defender‚ does not see these setbacks derailing on-form Amakhosi.
“No‚ they have a big squad. They have quality players who can just come in and fill the positions‚” Allie said on Tuesday.
“For me‚ Chiefs are a big team‚ they have quality players on their bench who can come in and take any position.”
At centreback‚ Chiefs will also make a call on whether Siyabonga Ngezana remains at the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations‚ where South Africa can qualify for the Tokyo Olympics if they beat hosts Egypt in Tuesday night’s semifinal.
If SA lose‚ they will need to win the third-place playoff on Friday to reach the Olympics.
If the U-23s win‚ they have a final to contest‚ also on Friday‚ and Amakhosi will remain under pressure to allow Ngezana‚ and winger Happy Mashiane‚ to remain in Egypt.
Lorenzo Gordinho is a candidate to come in at centreback‚ or Yagan Sasman can be brought into the middle from left-back‚ with Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya employed out wide.
Bruce Bvuma is sure to replace Akpeyi at goalkeeper.
Katsande’s suspension opens the way for Kearyn Baccus‚ who recently returned from injury‚ to start in Sunday’s semifinal.
United are seeking to reach just their second cup final.
The KwaZulu-Natal team lost 1-0 to Free State Stars in the final of the 2017-18 Nedbank Cup.
Chiefs have won eight league and cup games (including two on penalties) in succession.
Maritzburg are unbeaten in seven matches.
SportsLIVE PODCAST | Downs Dynasty plus Am & Mapimpi's roots (feat Elliot Fana)