Nathi Lions turn their attention to Nedbank Cup after defeat by Aces

2010-03-26 00:00

AFTER their dreams of playing in the Premier Soccer League next season went up in smoke on Wednesday night, Nathi Lions have set their sights on doing well in the Nedbank Cup.

Coach Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane said a good run in the competition will help help prepare his team for next season in the National First Division.

Lions fell 2-0 to Mpumalanga Black Aces in the second leg of their National First Division Promotional Play-0ff at Chatsworth Stadium on Wednesday night to lose 4-2 on aggregate.

Aces progress to play Leopards, 5-3 aggregate winners over African Warriors, in the final two-leg play-off for promotion to the PSL.

Following their spirited comeback in holding Aces 2-2 after being 0-2 down in the first leg in Witbank last week, Lions were expected to kill off the contest in the return leg.

However, inexperience got the better of them as they allowed Aces to claw their way back into the two-leg tie.

Ngubane said Lions have come to terms with their setback and are be focused on the Nedbank Cup.

“While we are disappointed with the results, there are positives we took out of this game. That’s why it is important that we aim for a good run in the Nedbank … we are not saying we want to win it, but to go far so that we will see where we need to improve.

“Our strike force needs to be strengthened as we cannot rely only on Songwe Chalwe. I believe a foundation has been laid for next season,” said Ngubane.

Zambian-born Chalwe, formerly with Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows, and wingers Manelisi Gomoshe (ex-Bush Bucks) Chris Makhoba (Mamelodi Sundowns) are some players who made Ngubane proud in the play-offs.

”They did very well, despite being written off. I am happy that Nathi Lions afforded them the platform and they grabbed the chance with both hands.”

Ngubane said he is not aware that these players might be on the wanted list of PSL teams.

Three seasons ago, Lions had a good run in the Nedbank Cup, bowing out in the quarter-finals to Aces in Witbank. Ngubane also guided PSL team Maritzburg Classic (later to become Maritzburg United) to the semi-finals of the competition in 2006.

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