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Maritzburg's Roger de Sa plots around Kurt Lentjies suspension, monitors Evans Rusike at AFCON

Posted: 22 January 2017 Time: 14:55

Roger de Sa rates Kurt Lentjies highly but feels he can cope without his captain in his first test as Maritzburg United coach, while he is also tracking Evans Rusike's progress at AFCON 2017.

Lentjies is suspended for Maritzburg's upcoming league tie with Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on February 8 following his dismissal for a studs-up challenge on Phumlani Ntshangase in a 1-1 draw with Bidvest Wits before the festive break.

The playmaker, who has netted thrice in 14 games this season, will also sit out the next match with Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs at Harry Gwala Stadium on February 11.

De Sa, however, believes he has enough depth in his squad to offset Lentjies's unavailibility.

"That is why you need a squad of 27, 28 players. I think when the club fought off relegation last year, there were many games that the skipper wasn’t there either," says De Sa, who took charge of United this month following the resignation of Ernst Middendorp in November last year.

"You got to overcome those games and yes he’s a valuable player and good footballer. And many times I wish I had him in my teams but I think somebody else will have to step up and take on the armband and do a good job."

Meanwhile, the ex-Ajax Cape Town boss hopes Team of Choice striker Rusike can impress for Zimbabwe at the AFCON in Gabon. Rusike featured off the bench in his country's 2-0 loss to Senegal, and will hope to play again in their final Group D clash with Tunisia on Monday.

"The ideal scenario is that he’s at AFCON, he has a great tournament, he wins the tournament, top goal scorer and he comes back injury-free… that will be the ideal scenario isn’t it," says the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper.

"But right now it is what it is. He’s there and we got to monitor him and we got to watch him. The good thing is he should come back with game-time and to be fit and ready to keep going. He could be ahead of us, I don’t know, depends on how much he plays.

"We got one player there and some teams got more than that, we just got one. He’s a key player, we know that, but let’s see when he gets back, we will be watching him carefully.

"But I think we would like him to do well, that will be an ideal scenario. What we don’t want is him to be sitting on the bench, pick up an injury at training and we don’t have him at all. But that is beyond our control, we can only control what we can."

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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