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'Maritzburg, You Beautiful Thing!'

Maritzburg United have bought some breathing room at a crucial stage of the season. On Wednesday night, the Team of Choice overcame a limp Ajax Cape Town at the Harry Gwala Stadium via a superb Thamsanqa Mkhize free-kick in the 85th minute. Supporters Club caught up with a member of the KwaZulu-Natal-based footballing community, and it sounds like there was a party in Pietermaritzburg last night…

"That's why they are the Team of Choice, that's why we choose them," explained lifelong Maritzburg fan Ryan Holtes.

"What a beautiful night of football. People often wonder why we all go to the stadium so often to see the rock-bottom team.

"It's because they are actually fantastic."

What Holtes says is true, many people do scratch their head in bewilderment at the attendance that the Harry Gwala Stadium attracts for a home game. Even coach Ernst Middendorp, before the game against Ajax, said it didn't make sense that all these fans came to watch their team constantly drop points, but he duly thanked them anyway. 

It is a fascinating facet of South African football. If you can remember, Orlando Stadium was at its most packed during the Kosta Papic era; the Buccaneers did not have the greatest results during this period, but, boy, did they play some entertaining football.

"Going to watch Maritzburg is more entertaining than Sunday night television," Holtes continued.

"That's why I do it, and there is a nice sense of community.

"We all love being there and cheering for the team."

Maritzburg may just have saved themselves from relegation with the win over the Urban Warriors. It really was a beautiful thing to watch and hear such an excited crowd turn up for a struggling team.

"Maritzburg, you beautiful thing!" Holtes concluded.

Do you think Maritzburg will survive the drop this season?


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