MARITZBURG United coach Ernst Middendorp will be hoping that Evans Rusike and Mohammed Anas continue to find the back of the net in the closing months of the season.
Ghana-born marksman Mohammed Anas was on target after coming off the bench on Friday night to make sure of a 2-0 victory over Golden Arrows at the Harry Gwala Stadium, the win taking Maritzburg to within two points of climbing out of the relegation zone they have occupied all season long.
It was the 21-year-old Anas’ first goal since the middle of November last year, and his third of the season, the marksman not having featured much in recent months.
Having gone into the break at 0-0, Middendorp was pleased to see his side showing more bite in front of goal in the second half as goals from Kurt Lentjies and Anas earned his men the derby win and a vital three points.
“It was not only the half-time talk, but also bringing in a third striker in, Anas, who had disappeared a little over the last weeks, but I always had my eye on him.
“To use the words from some of the commentators, he’s a guy who is in the kitchen, and he has definitely paid us back, doing the job of scoring the second goal, which was very crucial for us,” said Middendorp.
Rusike, meanwhile, has been putting in some eye-catching performances, his pace, power and movement a threat for numerous PSL defences. With five league goals, the 25-year-old is the club’s second highest scorer, behind captain Kurt Lentjies, who has eight to his name. Four of Rusike’s goals have come since the turn of the year.
Middendorp says on joining the Team of Choice back in December, he quickly noticed Rusike’s potential, and set about unlocking the Zimbabwean’s talent.
“I saw him in training for two or three days. For me it was very clear that he was a man that has to be given the entire confidence, and support. He was here for a long time, and he didn’t probably didn’t receive the certain support,” said the German.
“It’s always about assessing and identifying what’s possible. It’s normal, it’s nothing, I hear other coaches are getting angry. But I see stuff different. If I see Evans being available in this position, and getting the support, I think he’s giving it his all, and is showing now what type of striker he is – one of the most qualified in the league, there is no doubt about that.” – ANA