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Eric Tinkler: I feel sorry for my players

Eric Tinkler: I feel sorry for my players
Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler (Images: Steve Haag)

Maritzburg United needed to go through the play-offs to survive relegation and that was due to the poor start they had with coach Fadlu Davids who was sacked after 14 matches in charge with a record of one win, eight draws and five losses. 

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Coach Muhsin Ertugral was called on to save the Team of Choice but things didn’t go according to plan for the Turkish coach as he was also fired after losing five consecutive matches including four league games. 

This season, Maritzburg United find themselves in the same situation as last season where they are in search of their first win after two matches. Eric Tinkler’s men lost their opening game to Golden Arrows at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium and conceded in the last minute of the game to draw with Highlands Park in their first home game of the season.

Memories of last season are now starting to creep in and talks of United fighting relegation again this season are getting louder and louder, especially after the club lost two major players to Orlando Pirates in Siphesihle Ndlovu and Fortune Makaringe.

“Shame, I feel for my players because I thought tonight we really worked our socks off. We knew prior to the game that it will be tough, they play with a lot of aggression and a lot of intensity,” Tinkler said. 

”We contained them for 91 minutes, they didn’t really cause any real major headaches. Yes, they had a few shots which were over the crossbar but those were from a distance. Losing the two points hurts because the effort the boys put in and the way we played, we deserved more,” he continued.

When asked if there is enough to suggest that the team won’t struggle this season the coach quickly responded without any hesitations. “I think so, I think so like I said before I look at both our games against [Golden] Arrows and this one. I thought we had a lot of strength, I look at my bench and I’ve got a lot of options available to me,” added the Team of Choice mentor. 

Maritzburg will enjoy a week break as they are not participating in the MTN 8 this year and they return to action with a trip to Stellenbosch, Black Leopards (H), Mamelodi Sundowns (A), and Chippa United (H) to wrap up their next four matches.

By: Banele Pikwa

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