Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says their recent improvement in form means they can have a real go at trying to win the Telkom Knockout that gets underway next weekend.

The draw for South Africa’s league cup competition was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, with the Team of Choice pulling the name of Bidvest Wits out of the hat.

The big advantage for United will be a home draw, something that is certain to boost their prospects following back-to-back wins in their last two Absa Premiership matches at the Harry Gwala Stadium. Tinkler is happy with their turnaround.

Like all the teams in the Premier Soccer League, Maritzburg are currently on a break due to the FIFA international window.

They have been through a rough few months since the start of the season having failed to win any of their first five league matches.

That wretched spell did at least end when they beat Chippa United and Baroka FC in twin home games before the break, jumping from second bottom to 11th in the process. Tinkler conceded there is huge amount of relief on his players.

Maritzburg are also hopeful that the international break will allow for some of their injured players to recoup and return to full fitness before the season resumes next week.

However, one man that will not be back for the Wits game or their following league game against Cape Town City is key midfielder Phumlani Ntshangase, who has suffered a leg injury and could be out for the rest of the year.

But Tinkler is optimistic that Miguel Timm and Kwanda Mngonyama will be back in time to face the Students. – Report by Thahir Asmal

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