Win against Stars crucial for AmaZulu’s future

2014-11-22 00:00

AMAZULU run the risk of disappearing into the wilderness if they do not come back from Rustenburg with a victory when they meet Platinum Stars tonight.

The story of Usuthu this season is about as depressing as they come. A sacked coach, no wins, few goals and injuries aplenty have left the Durban boys bottom of the league table ­showing little sign of turning things around. Caretaker coach Wilfred ­Mugeyi, who took up the hot seat after Craig Rosslee was sent on his merry way, has kept a brave face through the most difficult of times. His own future is now uncertain as rumours circulate of the board lining up a new coach to pull the team out of trouble after Christmas, and the only way he will be able to make the job his own is if his side start winning.

Today is a fantastic opportunity to do just that. Stars, despite being in the final of next weekend’s Telkom Knockout, have also battled in the league this season. They are the side closest to AmaZulu on the log, four points above their visitors tonight though they have played a game less.

Mugeyi is hoping that the distraction of the cup final works in his side’s favour. “I think it will definitely be a factor. Their focus will be on the cup final,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they rest a couple of players, especially those on yellow cards.”

But Mugeyi has been in the game long enough to know that his side have flaws of their own that will need to be rectified if they are to come back to KZN with their first three-pointer of 2014/15. “We have been working very hard on our finishing. Every game we get chances and we need to start taking them,” he said. “We will also need to close them down and stop them from playing.”

The bad news for AmaZulu is that they go into the match riddled with injuries to some of their key men.

Left back Marc van Heerden, right back Larry Horaeb, holding midfielder John Arwuah and attacker Ayanda Dlamini are all still on the treatment table, while a late call was to be made on the availability of midfielder Nhlanhla Shabalala and his groin strain.

“We were hoping to use the break to get a few players back from injury, but that was not to be,” said Mugeyi. “Ayanda is still two or three weeks away. But preparations have gone well and the boys are raring to go.”

One shining light for Usuthu is that Bafana Bafana striker Bongani Ndulula was in the travelling squad yesterday after recovering from the bout of flu that kept him out of the national side’s 2-2 draw with Nigeria on Wednesday night.

Tonight’s match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium kicks off at 6 pm and will not be televised.

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