Tinkler Magic: Maritzburg United’s change of fortunes

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Four months ago, Maritzburg United were playing in the PSL Promotion play-offs to save their Absa Premiership status.

Fast forward to November, the Team of Choice have qualified for the Telkom Knockout final and will battle it out for the coveted trophy against Mamelodi Sundowns at Moses Mabhida Stadium on December 14.

This comes after their 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the semis at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.

Despite the fact that Maritzburg had gone 7 games without a defeat in all competitions coming into the match, they were considered underdogs given Amakhosi’s run of 8 straight wins.

From the sidelines, Eric Tinkler was demanding more from his players.

But a goal in each half by Judas Moseamedi secured the KwaZulu Natal side their second final in two years, this after qualifying for the 2018 Nedbank Cup final but lost to Free State Stars.

“Yeah, six months ago we were dead and buried,” reflected coach Eric Tinkler.

“To be brutally honest, most people thought we were dead and buried and six months later we find ourselves in the final of the Telkom Knockout.

Pogiso Sanoka was one of Maritzburg’s standout performers.

“But we will focus on that later because we’ve got very important League matches and I think you have seen the League is very compact – it is very tight now. You lose one or two games you find yourself at the bottom so our first priority has to be securing that position in the League.”

Having taken SuperSport United and Cape Town City to a cup final before and won them, Tinkler says he is a winner and wants the winning mentality to rub off amongst his players.

“I am a winner and I want to win things; I want to achieve things and obviously that needs to rub off players and my expectations are high,” continued the former Bafana Bafana midfielder.

“My expectations are very high that’s why I come in at halftime when we were 1-0 up and I am screaming and shouting, and I am angry because I expect more, and I expect better.”

The 49-year-old won the 2016 Telkom Knockout while at Cape Town City and the 2017 MTN 8 Cup with SuperSport United.

By Ofhani Munyai

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