Tinkler already plotting for TKO final vs Sundowns

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Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says he is enjoying the challenge of having to decide on what his line-up will be for next weekend’s Telkom Knockout final in Durban.

The Team of Choice will be bidding to win their first title in history when they tackle Mamelodi Sundowns in what is South Africa’s version of the League Cup.

United stunned Kaizer Chiefs last month to seal their trip to the Moses Mabhida Stadium spectacle, but they since lost to SuperSport United drew with AmaZulu FC. Tinkler, though, says he knows more or less who will be taking to the field on December 14.

The Pietermaritzburg-based team were completely flat in their midweek loss to Matsatsantsa a week ago. However, they could have been forgiven for that display as the clash came just days after producing one of their best results in history.

They did improve in the last game, the KwaZulu-Natal derby away at Usuthu, but it still did not yield three points they were seeking to steer clear from the Absa Premiership’s danger zone.

Nonetheless, Tinkler said he liked what he saw against their local rivals, especially after giving some unfamiliar faces a chance.

Tinkler also praised former Chiefs midfielder Keagan Buchanan, who has been making excellent strides of his own in recent weeks.

There were growing fears last season over his future after he had suffered an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury in his knee at training that meant he played just 123 minutes for the Team of Choice after joining from Amakhosi.

He was used sparingly in the first few months of this term, before a quality display in the semi-final, and he replicated that in Umlazi at the weekend, much to the delight of his coach.

Report by Thahir Asmal