It’s ‘do or die’ for AmaZulu

2015-02-24 00:00

IT is just about “do or die” time for ­AmaZulu. The Durban outfit remain rock bottom of the PSL table and nine points adrift of their nearest rivals, Platinum Stars, in 15th. They have recorded just a single win all season and, with time ­running out, relegation to the unglamorous National First Division is fast becoming more probable than possible.

Usuthu need to start collecting ­victories immediately if they are to turn the corner and it is hard to see that ­happening in tonight’s Moses Mabhida fixture against PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

After having lost both of their league matches in 2015, AmaZulu’s biggest ­embarrassment of the season came in the Nedbank Cup on Friday night when they lost 2-1 at home to Durban rivals Golden Arrows.

The two clubs used to be fiercer rivals when Arrows were in the PSL, but Shaun Bartlett’s charges were relegated to the NFD last season. That made Friday’s ­result even harder for AmaZulu to take, but, more importantly, it was a result that indicated how far down the South African pecking order they have fallen.

Still, coach Steve Barker remains upbeat ahead of what is a seemingly impossible task against Sundowns tonight.

“It just doesn’t get any easier, does it?” the coach said ahead of the game.

“In life, successful people are those who can stand up after being down, and every time they get knocked they stand up again. That is all we can do. We have to keep going.”

The one shining light for Usuthu, if there is one, is that they have two games in hand on Moroka Swallows in 14th, who are 10 points ahead. According to Barker, having those matches in hand makes ­tonight’s match as well as Sunday’s at ­SuperSport United massive.

“We have to bounce back, we’ve got no choice,” he said. “The next two league games are vitally important. We have to find a way to win at least one of them to close the gap on Swallows. We are up against some tough opposition but we have to get three or four points from these matches to move forward.”

Barker added that his side are due a bit of luck, and they will surely need some when they square off against the mighty Brazilians.

“I don’t know how many free kicks I’ve seen fly into the top corner in the last five, six, seven games … and own goals that we have been conceding,” Barker said.

“It seems like not a lot wants to go our way right now. But in saying that, all the players continue to show that they have a lot of fight in them and a willingness to keep plugging away. We just hope that somewhere around the corner there is something that will go our way and get our belief back.”

Tonight’s match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.

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