AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco Martin says the masses are going to be robbed of watching a spectacular football match against Mamelodi Sundowns tonight since it won’t be played at a big ground like the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Martin said it is a pity as the game will now be played at King Zwelithini Stadium at 19:30.
The game was moved away from the 2010 World Cup finals venue due to it needing to be repaired as it visibly showed brown spots all over the pitch, which were evident when Usuthu lost 3-2 to TS Galaxy in the Carling Knockout semi-final on Sunday.
Also, stadium management had to close down the venue to prepare the pitch for close to two weeks as the final of the Carling Cup will take place there next weekend. There is also a concert of BeBe Winans that is taking place on Saturday and preparations are already underway, forcing Martin to rue the game being played in Umlazi.
“It is a pity that we are going to be playing in a small venue, not in our stadium,” said Martin.
“But due to the state of the stadium right now, I don’t mind (playing away) because I prefer to play in the stadiums that are in better conditions and it is pity that we can’t play the two games (as that against Sekhukhune United on 13 December will also be played in Umlazi) and it is something we need to say it (publicly) and it needs to be solve.
“But football players wants to play against Sundowns and nothing I can say in terms of motivation from my side.”
This game was supposed to have taken place last month but it was postponed as Sundowns were preparing for the African Football League final and asked the Durban club to reschedule because they needed sufficient time to prepare for the inaugural CAF competition, which they went on to win against Wydad Athletic.
Just like Usuthu, Sundowns come into this game licking their wounds as they lost to TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League group stage away over the weekend. But unlike log leaders Sundowns, AmaZulu are lying 11th on the DStv Premiership table with 15 points after 12 matches.
Usuthu will have to be at their best to stop Rulani Mokwena’s side, who have won their opening nine league matches for a return of 27 points, which is the record in the PSL.
But in their past three visits to Durban to face Usuthu, Sundowns has failed to collect three points, losing one and drawing the other two.
With Usuthu hosting Sundowns, then Sekhukhune and bottom side Cape Town Spurs all at home, Martin is targeting at least five points to reach the 20 mark before the Christmas break.
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“We need to reach at least 20 points by the end of the year,” said Martin.
“In the second half of the season we’re going to be better in terms of football, preparation and development of the playing side.”