Maritzburg United sought after goalkeeper Richard Ofori says Friday night football at Harry Gwala Stadium and fans of the “Team of Choice” are all he thinks about during this national #LockDown.
The Ghanaian shot-stopper who is on the wanted list of Gauteng rich boys Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns has been training alone since the Premier Soccer League (PSL) was suspended due to the spread of the COVID-19, which subsequently led to the country being placed on a 21-day lockdown that has been extended to the end of April.
“What I would say is that since day one, the fans, the City of Maritzburg as a whole, they’ve been doing great for the team in terms of supporting and praying for the team,” said Ofori.
“We have been doing well because of them. Most of the clubs don’t get the opportunity that Maritzburg has been getting in terms of support and fanbase. You know it’s hectic without them.
“Friday nights, how we miss their support and them always coming out in their numbers. So without football it’s tough. These people sleep football, they do everything possible to watch the game. So without football it’s really difficult and complicated. It’s affecting all of us, the fans should just keep calm and we should fight this COVID-19 together until things go back to normal. They should stay calm and follow the rules from the government and listen to Mr President. We need to stay together as a team and stay home as well.”
Ofori has been one of the key members of the rejuvenated Maritzburg United side under coach Eric Tinkler.
The Ghanain international has kept 10 league clean sheets in 22 games for Maritzburg United this season, while conceding just 17 goals which is the lowest as Maritzburg United are the joint less conceding team in the PSL together with log leaders Kaizer Chiefs & Bidvest Wits.
“What I can say is, the togetherness which is very important, has kept us through because we suffered a lot last season,” Ofori continued.
“So this season I think the togetherness, the team work and the hard work has helped the team. Listening to the Coach also as you can see, we didn’t start the season very well but when the Coach speaks to us we listen and we try and do everything possible to win games. And another thing, in each and everyone of us there is a competition, each and everyone is working hard and each and everyone wants to execute the chance that the coach will be giving to him.”
Ofori added: “That has been our strength because you know if you don’t work hard and they give another player an opportunity he will deliver. So you need to push, I think the competition has really helped a lot.”
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By Shane Matsoyane