stakes high in KZN derby

THE timing of the Absa Premiership match between KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu and Maritzburg United could not have been more perfect.

THE timing of the Absa Premiership match between KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu and Maritzburg United could not have been more perfect.

The match will be played at the newly built Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, a World Cup venue, on Sunday.

The derby generated so much interest that the limited number of tickets on offer at the 70000-seater stadium were sold out five days before the match. That is because fans expect a spectacle, especially considering the sides' precarious positions.

AmaZulu are 12th on the log, one spot above United.

Usuthu have won five of their 17 matches with three draws and nine losses.

The Team of Choice have registered three victories and eight draws from the same number of matches.

AmaZulu captain Pere Ariwerayai said the honour of opening the stadium has motivated the players. Coach Neil Tovey described the derby as a special occasion.

"After experiencing some few hiccups in the early stages of the league, it looks like now we have found our footing," he said. "But I have to ensure that players are not (caught up) in the euphoria of the occasion."

United striker Fadlu Davids expects a tough match: "They seem to have turned the corner and are always hard to beat in front of their home crowd, but we are not going to respect them." Usuthu players to watch include Ayanda Dlamini and Dumisani Ngwenya, while United will bank on Noel Chivuta and Bheka Phakathi. Kickoff is at 3.30pm.

l Soccer fans in the Mother City are also expected to be entertained by a local derby between Ajax Cape Town and Santos at Athlone Stadium tomorrow. The tie starts at 8.15pm.

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