I am going to say no - Eric Tinkler adamant he will not release Maritzburg United players for Cosafa Cup

The Team of Choice coach has issued a rallying cry ahead of his team's fight for survival, and will not allow the Cosafa Cup to deter his plans

Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler has issued a stern warning that he will not release any of his players for the upcoming Cosafa Cup.

While all other Premier Soccer League (PSL) sides are likely to be enjoying a well-deserved rest, Maritzburg do not enjoy that luxury.

The Team of Choice, who enjoyed a late resurgence towards the end of the 2018/19 season which saw them avoid automatic relegation, now find themselves fighting for their lives as they enter the playoffs.

The battle to remain in the PSL top flight is expected to test all of Tinkler and his troop’s resolve which makes having his best players at his disposal all the more important.

“The Cosafa Cup, to me, means nothing. Those requests are going to fall on deaf ears. If any of our players are called for the Cosafa Cup, I am going to say ‘NO’,” an adamant Tinkler was quoted as saying by IOL.

Meanwhile, Tinkler will come up against Royal Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), who will also be hoping to win promotion to the South African top-flight, and the 48-year-old knows his side need to be at their best.

“Playing NFD teams is a different ballgame, you’ve got to have a different mindset. My fear is that you start lowering your level, and you can’t afford to. You’ve got to maintain your professional standards, your PSL standards. If you can do that, you can best the NFD teams,” he added.

“But if you drop your level of the game, then you’re going to come unstuck,” Tinkler explained.

“Our first game is at home against Royals, then we make the trip to Venda. Those two games are very important. What we get out of them at home and away is extremely important,” he said.

“It is about our survival. It’s a massive task. The players are staying here for another month when they should be going on a break. But I prepared them for this, so mentally they are ready,” he concluded.

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Maritzburg will begin their fight for survival on Sunday as they take on Royal Eagles in their opening game.