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Keen to make history

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The ‘Team of Choice’ will battle for the R7 million purse and a spot in the Caf Confederation Cup when they face Free State Stars in the final of the Nedbank Cup at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

GOAL-MINDED: Andrea Fileccia of Maritzburg United says that the team is determined to end off their season with some silverware in the cabinet.

MARITZBURG United talisman Andrea Fileccia has vowed to deliver on Saturday.

The ‘Team of Choice’ will battle for the R7 million purse and a spot in the Caf Confederation Cup when they face Free State Stars in the final of the Nedbank Cup at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday at 3pm.

Fileccia has been in fine form in-front of goals in the Cup, having netted three times in four matches.

The Belgian international wants to finish the tournament with another strike in the final.

“We are ready for the final. We’ve worked so hard to reach this cup final. That was one of our goals at the starts of the season. We wanted to reach at least final,” Fileccia stated. “We want to bring the trophy to Maritzburg. This has been my best season in South Africa and this has also been the best season in the club’s history. I’ve scored three goals in this competition and I want to add to that tally on Saturday. I’m feeling good and looking forward to the game. We will give it our all.”

Fileccia has been in red-hot form since the departure of Evans Rusike, who left the club in January and joined SuperSport.

“I don’t have anything to prove against Free State Stars. Yes, they are my former team but I will treat the game as a normal game. I want to win my first trophy in South Africa. I won a trophy six years go when I was at Feyenoord (in Holland). I was still young at the time and I was playing for the junior side,” Fileccia explained.

Meanwhile, Fadlu Davids has, over the years, left and returned to the Mother City on many occasions, but the Maritzburg United coach admits there is something a little different about this latest homecoming. The 36-year-old tactician has been the inspiration behind Maritzburg’s fantastic season in the PSL, finishing fourth on the league standings and lining up in Saturday’s final.

When it comes to home, it’s always there, in the heart. Davids arrived back home on Monday morning as part of the KwaZulu-Natal side’s delegation to drum up support for the team ahead of the final. But it also provided the promising young coach an opportunity to reflect, and take a trip down memory lane.

“As a youngster, I remember my dad taking me to Athlone Stadium to watch Santos, with players like Duncan Crowie,” he said. “There were also those great Cape Town Spurs teams of the time as well. I’ve never played a final in Cape Town, but to return now for a final as a coach is something really special for me.

“In fact, when we heard that the final was going to be played in Cape Town, I can assure you it added to the motivation. So, for Saturday, just for the day, I’m hoping that the Ajax Cape Town and Cape Town City fans, that the Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates fans, can all come out and support us, just for the day.”

Davids is originally from Surrey Estate and attended Windsor High School in Lansdowne. He started his junior career at Connoisseur Spurs, the club that would eventually form part of the well-known Thornhill United club. Later, as his game progressed, he was part of the Cape Town Spurs U17 squad and he had short stints at Saxon Rovers and Mother City FC before taking himself off to Bulgaria to play for Chernomorets Burgas.

At the time, he was with another South African, Simba Marumo – and, because the Bulgarian side had a link with Inter Milan, the two players also got to spend some time training with the Italian giants.

Davids returned to South Africa, where he went on to play for Manning Rangers, Avendale Athletico, Vasco da Gama, Silver Stars and Maritzburg.

“In 2012 had just had an ankle operation,” he explained. “And I was struggling to recover. So Ernst (Middendorp, Maritzburg coach at the time) had a chat with me. The question he posed was: ‘do you want to think about the next two years playing, or do you want to think about the next 20 years coaching?’ ”

And here we are. Today Davids is one of the rising young coaches in the PSL, earning plaudits from just about everybody across and length and breadth of the country for his superb work at Maritzburg.