For old time’s Sake

2010-04-03 00:00

AMAZULU coach Neil Tovey wants his players to go out and restore the club’s proud past, as they face Ajax Cape Town in the first Telkom Knockout semi-final tonight.

Tovey, a former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana defender, is used to silverware in his career, and has challenged his Usuthu over-achievers to bring back the glory days to the Durban club.

“The club has not won a trophy since 1992,” Tovey lamented at a press conference earlier this week.

He has led the unfancied Usuthu on a fine run of late, as they have won six of their last eight games, including a priceless double over triple league champions, SuperSport United.

Clearly then, Usuthu are a team who hold no fear for any team put in front of them, and a bullish Tovey suggested as much.

“We have beaten the best teams in the country, so we are not afraid of playing anyone,” he said. But Tovey was also quick to praise the Urban Warriors, who have reaffirmed their fine reputation in local cup competitions.

“Ajax are a workmanlike team, and they have done well again in the cup competitions,” he said.

Tovey then went on to say that if his side plays to their own capabilities, then anything can happen at the lively Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Bloemfontein.

The neutral venue, usually the fortress of Bloemfontein Celtic, hosts the infinitely less glamourous cup tie, with the Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Monday hogging all the headlines.

That suits Usuthu just fine, and they have happily slipped under the radar this week in preparation for tonight’s game.

AmaZulu’s plans have been hard hit by the suspension of industrious midfielder Thabo “Ntshebe” Mabaso, who has racked up three cards in the competition.

A raft of players are also one booking away from missing the final, and Tovey will hope his combative unit is on its best behaviour tonight.

Goalkeepers Mbongeni Mzimela and Nick Grande, defenders Siboniso Gumede, Marc van Heerden and Warren Bishop, midfielders Thamsanqa Sangweni, Nhlanhla Zwane, Tsoeu Mokoro and strikers Dumisani Ngwenya, Ayanda Dlamini and Bradley Ritson are all sitting on two yellow cards, which is a quite startling statistic.

Despite their reckless discipline, AmaZulu find themselves just 90 minutes away from a major final.

Tovey will surely be throwing caution to the wind, as Usuthu look to recapture their former glory days.

With a meeting against one of South Africa’s giants as the carrot in front of them, AmaZulu will do all they can in Bloemfontein tonight.




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