Nathi Lions only a game away from promotion to PSL

2010-03-24 00:00

WITH a promotion to the Premier Soccer League within their reach, Nathi Lions’ captain Nhlanhla Mncube has called on people of KwaZulu-Natal to turn out in force to cheer them on when they tackle Mpumalanga Black Aces tonight (7.30 pm on SuperSport) at Chatsworth Stadium.

Lions go into tonight’s second-leg clash of the National First Division (NFD) promotional play-off with a slight advantage after forcing a remarkable 2-2 draw away in Witbank last Wednesday.

While this commendable result was met with praise from all sides, coach Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane did not want to get carried away, admitting that the glaring mistakes his side committed in the first leg ought to be addressed as matter of urgency.

According to Mncube, the emphasis in the preparations they made in Richards Bay for tonight’s clash mostly centred on minimising their mistakes.

He said of Blackl Aces, “The plan is to apply pressure on them, but at the same time not concede an early goal as that could give them confidence of snatching a win.

“We can feel promotion is in our hands and we can not let this golden chance slip through our fingers. We are wary about being over-confident because we scored those two vital away goals,” said Mncube, whose header in the first leg ensured the draw.

The former Lamontville Golden Arrows player said he wants local soccer lovers to be their 12th player on the field.

“We need their support desperately. It will be a good thing for everyone in the province to have a fourth team in the PSL. When Arrows played the top eight competition final, the whole province backed them and we all know the result. In some provinces, fans forget about their allegiance and come in numbers to offer support to their brothers,” said Mncube.

He confirmed that former Zambian international and Kaizer Chiefs marksman Songe Chalwe, wingers Manelisi Gomoshe and Chris Makhoba have recovered fully from serious knocks suffered in the first leg.

This is the first time in years that Amabhubesi have got this close to promotion.

Running the team from his own pocket, chairman Nathi Maphumulo is said to be having sleepless nights in his quest for financial backing to keep his talented players happy.

A win tonight for his team would get him closer to his long-cherished dream of escaping the poverty the NFD teams are subjected to owing to a lack of sponsors.

In another promotional match this evening, Black Leopards take their 4-0 winning lead to African Warriors at Charles Mopeli in Qwaqwa.

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