This season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Team of Choice and their die-hard fans, with some even joking they need medical assistance after the turbulent 2015/16 campaign. The Pietermaritzburg outfit can now breathe out a sigh of relief after magically turning around what seemed to be the end of their PSL journey. It is time to take a trip down memory lane…
The team began the 2015/16 season already facing the relegation zone – with 15 games played, the club had only managed one win, picking up a lousy eight points along the way! However, the second half started off on a better note, with the team climbing up into ninth spot. However, the unfortunate passing of star midfielder Mondli Cele seemed to have an effect on the players who had a close relationship with him.
From then, things took a turn for the worse. There were great displays from the players on the field, they played amazing football, but the results proved otherwise. It is so, so sad when luck is not on your side…
The fight at the bottom of the PSL standings was extremely intense. Of course, it took centre stage as the champions were crowned early, and although the top eight was still to be determined, our eyes were fixed on which team would make the plunge to the NFD. All those fans who were born and bred in KwaZulu-Natal could not bear to witness another one of their teams take to the lower leagues, and I include myself in that mix!
The final encounter of the campaign, against Jomo Cosmos, was one for the record books. I have been watching soccer for the better part of my 19 years, and I must say: football never ceases to amaze me! As I watched that clash going into the last 10 minutes, when all seemed lost for Maritzburg United, I sat in my seat stunned, and a wondering fly could have easily gone down my throat. Maybe the magician Chris Angel was around pulling a trick on me, but when the fat lady sang and the tears rolled down the faces of all the loyal supporters who travelled all the way to Olen Park, I knew the Team of Choice had pulled the rabbit out of the hat.
Much has been written and said about the amazing last-minute survival of Maritzburg United, and I am pretty sure some of you might be sick of hearing about it, but let us all give credit where it is due – Ernst Middendorp and his soldiers certainly earned it.
Here’s to MUFC, and a better season ahead!