Usuthu out to consolidate season

2014-03-19 00:00

AMAZULU’S 3-1 win over Maritzburg United on Friday night got what has been a promising PSL season back on track, and they can take a massive step towards securing their position in the top half of the table tonight with victory over Polokwane City at KwaMashu’s Princess Magogo Stadium.

Usuthu hadn’t scored a goal in their four previous fixtures before the match at Harry Gwala Stadium, but second-half goals through Goodman Dlamini and Bongani Ndulula (2) secured a valuable three points for coach Craig Rosslee’s side.

On paper, the home side should enter tonight’s clash as favourites, but Rosslee is experienced enough to know that there are no easy games in this league. City are languishing second from bottom of the log and are desperate for points to move them away from the threat of relegation, and this is likely to inspire an enthusiastic performance from the Boebie Solomons-led outfit.

“It is a difficult time to play them [City] because they are desperate. They are going to come here and fight for everything,” Rosslee said of his opposition tonight.

“The good thing is that they need the points so they have to come here and play with an open mind, so that should make for a good game.”

There is an injury concern for AmaZulu in the form of Ndulula, who returned to the score sheet for the first time since a 1-1 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic on November 10. The striker’s ankle was strapped as he sat out of training on Monday, but Rosslee confirmed that a late call would be made on the man affectionately known as SA’s “Drogba”.

If Ndulula does not pass his fitness test, then Rosslee may be forced to hand an immediate start to new signing Lucky Nguzana. The 22-year-old, a former SA U20 star, has joined Usuthu on a month-to-month contract after being released by Golden Arrows.

“We are giving him [Nguzana] the opportunity to show us what he can do. I believe he has the potential to be a good player,” said Rosslee. “Every­one knows his youth status, but that can bring about some dangerous expectations. It’s all up to him. If ‘Drogba’ is struggling with an injury we will have him ready.”

The rest of the Usuthu side should pick itself, as the likes of Goodman Dlamini, John Aruwah and Kulegani Madondo all put in impressive performances against Maritzburg, while Rosslee is unlikely to tinker with his back four. The other selection dilemma remains at goalkeeper, where club captain Tapuwa Kapini continues to struggle with his form. Rosslee protected the Zimbawean, saying that he still wasn’t fully fit, but Kapini’s questionable performance in his side’s 2-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns two weekends ago suggests that Philani Zikalala will continue to don the gloves tonight.

The match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will not be televised.

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