DURBAN – Former Maritzburg United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters believes that the Team of Choice stand a realistic chance against the mighty Kaizer Chiefs in their MTN8 quarter-final clash on Sunday afternoon.
“It should be an even game. With MTN games, it normally comes down to the teams that fade in the last half-hour because of fitness. That is not going to be a problem this year because last season was concluded recently,” said the 38-year-old Walters.
The game will mark four-time Premier Soccer League winner Gavin Hunt’s first competitive game in charge of the Glamour Boys. The 56-year-old took charge of Chiefs following the dissolution of his former club Bidvest Wits at the end of last season.
Whilst Chiefs will go into the contest as strong favourites, Walters alluded to the fact that upsets are bound to happen in every competitive football tournament.
“Maritzburg will have a certain amount of momentum due to coach Eric Tinkler, his style and philosophy. They will be up against a Chiefs side who will be in transition due to the appointment of Hunt, who has a totally different style of Middendorp.
“It would take those players time to adapt to the new style,” said Walters, who was Bafana Bafana’s third choice goalkeeper in the 2010 World Cup.
Walters did caution that Maritzburg will be up against a less predictable Chiefs side.
“The downside for Maritzburg is that they won’t be having to play the normal Chiefs side which has a lot of bodies up front, both full-backs overlapping and being isolated with the two central defenders.”
Meanwhile, Maritzburg United goalkeeper Richard Ofori has been linked with a move away from the club. Since joining the KZN giants in 2018, the 19-time capped Ghana international has gone on to establish himself as one of the top shot-stoppers in the PSL.
Walters believes that a loss of the 26-year-old could be a blow to Maritzburg.
“Losing a goalkeeper of his calibre and presence is going to be a big blow. Who are they going to bring in? He is the captain of the team and has been part of the spine.
“I’m hoping that they could bring in someone close to his calibre.”
Like Chiefs, there are likely to also be changes to the way Maritzburg United play this season.
The club has recruited Kaizer Chiefs legend Rowen Fernandez as its new goalkeeper coach whilst former Bafana Bafana attacker Delron Buckley has been appointed as assistant coach to Tinkler.