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Balanced midfield helping John Maduka

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Bloemfontein Celtic’s Malawian coach, John Maduka, has said his team is based on a balanced midfield where the left and right-footed combination of Given Mashikinya and Lucky Baloyi provides a settled‚ solid combination.

In the pair of 29-year-olds—both of whom have become stalwarts for Celtic for three seasons—Maduka has an experienced midfield combination to marshall his midfield‚ as they did in Saturday’s 1-0 MTN8 semifinal‚ second leg win against SuperSport United.

That result at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium saw Phunya Sele Sele through to a second successive cup final as they ran out 2-1 aggregate winners.

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The left-footed ex- Cape Town City midfielder Mashikinya and right-footed former Kaizer Chiefs star Baloyi controlled the middle of the park in impressive fashion for the Free State side.

“It’s good we have the right balance in the midfield—because most games are won there‚“ Maduka said.

“You have got to make sure that whoever comes in gives their best to their ability. And Mashikinya has done exactly that‚ and Baloyi has done that.

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“Also [forward] Siphelele Luthuli‚ joining the attack‚ helping the midfield when we’re defending‚ but also offensively‚ making those runs behind the defence.

“So we have the right balance in the midfield. And I’m very happy to have the midfielders who I have in the team.

“You could even see the previous one that I played against Orlando Pirates [in a 1-0 league defeat with a fringe combination last week]‚ where we had a different midfield with Ryan de Jongh‚ and he also did well.

“So we’re happy to have a midfield that is able to compete‚ and there’s also a lot of competition there in midfield. Whoever is available always does a good job.”

It was Mashikinya’s quick-thinking free-kick taken quickly from inside his half that put Victor Letsoalo through to beat Ronwen Williams for the winning goal of the tie in the 50th minute on Saturday.

Celtic will face Orlando Pirates in the final next month after the Bucs beat Kaizer Chiefs 5-0 on aggregate.—timeslive.co.za

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