MARITZBURG United coach Eric Tinkler says everyone is buzzing and fighting to be part of the team that will face Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout semi-final at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.
Tinkler admitted that every players’ intensity has lifted to the rooftop in the last couple of days after he gave them a week off during the Fifa break.
The former Chippa United coach has urged his charges that when they face Chiefs, who have won this competition more than anyone in the PSL, must play without any fear, and that is the recipe of defeating them and progress to their first ever TKO final.
“The training has been massive, it is something I didn’t expect,” said Tinkler with a smile.
“The intensity has been extremely good and it shows everyone wants to be in that final 18-man squad, which is what you want as a coach. But you just got to manage the players well.
“But we have also been doing well because we haven’t lost in the last seven matches. The players need to understand that I can’t change a winning team despite their intensity at training.”
Goalkeeper Richard Ofori wasn’t part of the team’s training and Siyanda Xulu was in rehab and his chances of playing against his former club are 50-50.
Ofori is yet to report to camp, having represented Ghana in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Bafana Bafana and Monday’s 1-0 win over São Tomé Principe.
Ofori, who has put in a big performances for the club, was also in goals when the Black Stars defeated Bafana Bafana 2-0 at Cape Coast Stadium last Thursday to see Kwesi Appiah’s side go top of the group with six points.
Tinkler is confident that, with the game on Sunday, his goalie will be fine as this happens all over the world that players arrive late in camp after representing their countries.
Ofori was the only player out on international duty from the club.
“There’s no issue, unless he (Ofori) comes back complaining of an injury,” Tinkler said.
“But players do come back late to their clubs and they play over the weekend. So there’s no problem, he should be fine.”
Tinkler won the TKO in 2016 when he was in charge of Cape Town City. The club was just 144 days old after John Comitis had bought the PSL status of Mpumalanga Black Aces.