‘City is phys­i­cally and men­tally fit’

African Times - - Sport - MOYAHABO MABEBA

POLOK­WANE City head coach Bernard Molekwa has is­sued a state­ment of in­tent against AmaZulu FC whom the play host at the Old Peter Mok­aba sta­dium this Satur­day as part of their Absa Pre­mier­ship cam­paign.

Kick for this en­counter is at 15:30. Play­ing in front of their fer­vent lo­cal sup­port­ers, the Lim­popo-based out­fit will saunter onto the pitch chock-full of con­fi­dence af­ter beat­ing the team from the Zulu King­dom 3-2 dur­ing their first leg game played at the King Zwelithini sta­dium on Oc­to­ber 18 last year.

When Rise and Shine emerged triumphant, they were clin­i­cal with their chances, while Usuthu lacked any real in­tent on goal un­til the fi­nal few min­utes of the clash when they stared down a less than im­pres­sive two-goal deficit.

How­ever, Molekwa, who has since ac­knowl­edged that his charges have a less im­pres­sive track record on their home turf, said they will not use their pre­vi­ous record as a yard­stick to judge the vis­i­tors.

“We have a medi­ocre record in our own back­yard. Al­though we are good trav­ellers, we have not reg­is­tered com­pre­hen­sive vic­to­ries in Polok­wane. It’s like the Old Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium is jinxed.

“This track record at home has been a ma­jor con­cern among our sup­port­ers who have blamed us con­sis­tently since the com­mence­ment of the 2017/18 league sea­son. There was at some stage when they ac­tu­ally bade for my blood,” said Molekwa.

Ahead of this match, he said: “I am pos­i­tive that we will give a good ac­count of our­selves since there are no in­jury con­cerns among key play­ers. The level of fit­ness in the team is very im­pres­sive. I am bring­ing all the ar­se­nals I have in the squad. The guys are not only fit phys­i­cally but also men­tally fit. There is great qual­ity and depth in the squad.”

Molekwa’s con­fi­dence stems from the fact that the team’ scor­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity is no longer lim­ited the tal­is­manic goal poacher, Rod­ney Ra­m­a­galela who tops the charts with nine strikes.

There is also Wal­ter Mu­sona who has so far banged the back of the net four times.

Rise and Shine will pin their faith on skip­per Jabu Maluleke and de­fender Ndi­vhuwo Ravhuhali.

Mean­while, sur­prise pack­age Baroka FC will travel to KwaZulu Natal where they have a date with La­montville Gold Ar­rows at the Princess Ma­gogo Sta­dium on Sun­day. Kick-off for this match is at 15:30. Newly-ap­pointed pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Richard Masha­bane says they have not lost hope of re­turn­ing to the sum­mit of the log.

How­ever, re­turn­ing to the sounds more a utopian pipedream con­sid­er­ing the im­pres­sive run ex­hib­ited by the like Mamelodi Sun­downs, Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs,

Still shell-socked by their re­cent 2-1 de­feat in the hands of ti­tle chaser Chiefs, Bak­gaga will go into this game as firm favourites even though the two sides played to a 1-all stale­mate dur­ing their first leg clash at the New Peter Mok­aba Sta­dium.

Masha­bane said, “We are con­fi­dent that we will man­age to col­lect max­i­mum points this week­end. Ar­rows play an open game which has flaws. They are an open book but we will not un­der­es­ti­mate them.

“They are des­per­ate of fin­ish­ing in the top-eight bracket. It is go­ing to be an in­ter­est­ing match and we are tak­ing the game to them.”

Polok­wane City head coach Bernard Molekwa.

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