Malajila basks in spotlight

HARARE - Zimbabwe international Cuthbert Malajila is enjoying his time in the limelight after setting the South African Absa Premiership alight with his goals for modest Maritzburg United.

Malajila is currently on vacation back home in Zimbabwe during the South African mid-season break following a very successful first half of the season with United.

The former Dynamos talisman has netted eight goals in the first 16 games of the season to be joint third-highest scorer in the Super Diski, just one behind Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows’ Katlego Mashego.

Malajila’s goals have also helped the Pietermaritzburg side, which spent time fighting relegation last season, rise to fifth on the table.

“As a player, it feels good to know that I’m up there with the other guys,” Malajila told the Daily News yesterday.

“The season is now on the halfway stage and I have to work hard to improve my game. I have to believe in my abilities.

“I know that I’m not one of the most technically-gifted footballers in the world, but one thing I can do very well is finding the back of the net.”

Malajila attributes his goal-scoring form this season to the environment at Maritzburg.

Fellow Zimbabwean Terrence Mandaza is also on the Maritzburg payroll.

“At Maritzburg, I just feel like I’m at home,” said Malajila. “Most of the time I’m with Terrence. We go to training together and I think the only time we are not together is when we go to sleep.

“So when you feel like you are at home, everything works out well because you don’t have any pressure to hold you back.”

Under German coach Ernst Middendorp, Maritzburg are punching above their waist in the Absa Premiership.
The Team of Choice is just 11 points behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs and if they continue with their good display, a top four finish is on the cards.

It will be such a big achievement for a team that finished just five points above the relegation zone last season.

“Maritzburg is a small club compared to teams like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs. We also have a small squad compared to these clubs,” said Malajila.

“But at the beginning of the season we sat down with the coaches and we set ourselves a number of targets for the season.

“The first thing we set out to achieve was to avoid fighting relegation like what happened last season. I’m sure we have managed to do that and our next target now will be a top eight finish, which will be a remarkable achievement for a club of Maritzburg’s stature.

“We just need to take each game as it comes when the season resumes and we will see where we are with five games to go.”

The Super Diski has taken an extended break to allow South Africa to host the 2013 African Nations Cup, which commences on January 19.

Maritzburg will resume their campaign on February 12 with a trip to Durban to face bottom club AmaZulu.

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