Maritzburg United are determined to capitalise on home advantage and begin the new year with a KZN derby victory over Golden Arrows on Friday night.
The Absa Premiership encounter is set for an 8pmkick off at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
The Team of Choice head into the match in eighth position, with 18 points from 14 outings – one place and two points behind Arrows, who have played a game more.
Prior to the Christmas break, United were in decent form, beating Polokwane City in the league and drawing against Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu, while being edged out 2-1 by Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final.
The aim now – as the league heads into the second round and the business end of the campaign – is to build and improve upon that form.
It will however require a big effort from the Pietermaritzburg men, who have not beaten Arrows since March 2016 – a run of nine games. In the overall record between the two sides, Abafana bes’Thende lead the way with 12 victories to Maritzburg’s six, with seven draws.
“It’s important for us to get the three points,” said Team of Choice defender Kwanda Mngonyama.
“We know that Arrows have beaten us over the years. This time around it’s for us as the Maritzburg players to get the three points because we are playing at home.
“In the second round, each and every game is massive. So each game we play is like a cup match, because all teams are out to collect maximum points,” he added.
Mngonyama says the players are ready to further up their efforts in the second round, and has called on the Maritzburg faithful – the Blue Army, to continue to rally behind the club.
“The mood is good in the camp – everyone is looking fresh and looking forward to this game. Everyone is prepared for the second round,” said the KwaZulu-Natal-born defender.
“As the coach told us, we need to step up our game – each and every player, because the second round is not going to be easy. We need to take one game at a time so we can achieve our goals as a team.
“Our supporters have been massive. They must please keep on coming and supporting the team, their presence is important for us,” he concluded.