Cup final places still up for grabs‚ says Tinkler to his Maritzburg players
Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says there are still places up for grabs as he settles on the line-up for the Telkom Knockout final against Mamelodi Sundowns in just under a fortnight’s time.
Maritzburg have one more match - away at struggling Polokwane City on Sunday -- before they meet Sundowns at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 14 in search of their first trophy.
Sunday’s 0-0 draw away against AmaZulu saw Tinkler make three changes to his line-up and he gave a rare chance to young striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
“I’ve been looking at giving a few guys an opportunity and Hlongwane did well.
"Deolin Mekoa has also been looking good in training and when I brought him on‚ he was outstanding‚” he said of two players who have not had regular game time this season.
Jeremy Brockie was on the bench once more as Judas Moseamedi‚ hero of the semifinal victory over Kaizer Chiefs‚ lead the attack while Keegan Buchanan had a full 90 minutes in midfield.
“Options are a good thing” said Tinkler.
“I want to have a headache when I pick the team for the final.”
Captain and first-choice goalkeeper Richard Ofori picked a fourth yellow card – and automatic one-match suspension - and misses the weekend trip to Polokwane but is then safe to play in the final.
It looked a deliberate attempt‚ in the closing stages of Sunday’s game‚ to get booked as he purposely wasted time to draw the ire of the referee.
Maritzburg‚ who escaped with their top-flight status intact only after the end-of-season promotion-relegation play-offs at the end of last season in June‚ were beaten by Free State Stars in the 2018 Nedbank Cup final – their only previous appearance in a cup decider.