Muhsin Ertugral believes he can save Maritzburg United
Muhsin Ertugral says his experience of 20 years of coaching in the Premier Soccer League makes him believe that relegation-haunted Maritzburg United can still save their top-flight status.
This is despite a third loss since his arrival at the club‚ despite a gutsy showing against champions Mamelodi Sundowns away from home on Wednesday.
The 1-0 defeat left Maritzburg in a deep quagmire at the bottom of the table with just 11 points from 17 games‚ with a paltry six goals scored.
Only two teams have won just one of their first 17 games in the league over the last 10 seasons – Jomo Cosmos twice and now Maritzburg.
But despite the odds‚ the coach still feels they can be saved.
“There are still a lot of points to be won and I think I have a little bit of experience.
“How many trophies have I won here in South Africa? You’ll know better‚” Ertugral said after the match at Loftus Versfeld.
“Last year was the first time I couldn’t manage to keep up but I don’t think that was all on my shoulders‚” Ertugral added in a reference to ‘Ndorogate’ at Ajax Cape Town‚ where they were relegated after being stripped of points for playing an ineligible player‚ striker Tendai Ndoro.
“But if you look at the stats‚ and this has escaped you guys‚ the number of points I got in charge of Ajax from my first game to the last had us in seventh place. So if I had got the team a little earlier‚ maybe things would have been different.
“But that’s history. Let’s speak about now. I think you could see that playing against the champions we put on a helluva good game.
“What concerns us now is how far we are behind the other teams and how many points we need to catch them.
“Our disadvantage is that we are playing all the teams who are around us [in the relegation zone] away from home.
“We are going to be have to be careful about how we play against them and what approach we take.”
Maritzburg head straight from the midweek match in Pretoria to Port Elizabeth where they will play against second-from-bottom Chippa United on Saturday‚ who are just one point above them in the standings.