Maritzburg United’s dramatic turnaround in their 2-1 win over Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday was not only good news for the Team of Choice, but for the nation too.
This is because one of the players that came off the bench to help turn things around for Eric Tinkler’s team was starlet, Bongokuhle Hlongwane.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics coming up, U23 coach David Notoane would be casting his net wide to see what are his options ahead of the global showpiece in July.
Hlongwane, alongside Thabiso Kutumela, was instrumental against Abafana Bes’thende, with the 19-year-old showing why he’s so highly rated.
“What did help us was the fact that Steve (Komphela of Arrows) took Knox (Mutizwa) and now pushed him to the right hand side when he was in the first half hurting us on our left hand side and when obviously I made that change I brought Sanisa in (Bongokuhle Hlongwane) and obviously moved Kwanda Mngonyama to right back and now Knox was that side with Kwanda which helped us immensely,” continued the former Bafana Bafana midfielder.
“That freed up (Yusuf) Jappie to get on an overlap and that allowed Sanisa (Hlongwane) now to come in and play as an extra striker so you gotta take those risks when you are losing, so we took a little bit of a risk,” Tinkler explained.
“I took off Miguel Timm, threw on Kutumela… and Kutumela I think is the one who provided both assists so at the end of the day it worked.”
Tinkler made the substitutions in the second half, at a time when Maritzburg were chasing the game.
The win takes Maritzburg up to fifth position on the log standings while Golden Arrows drop down to 8th position after suffering back-to-back defeats.
By Ntobeko Mbambo