Duzi Roy­als ready to dim Suns’ light

CityPress - - Sport - RE­ABETSWE MASHIGO re­abetswe.mashigo@city­press.co.za

The Duzi Roy­als are con­fi­dent they will beat archri­vals Tsh­wane Suns when the sides meet in a Bas­ket­ball Na­tional League (BNL) match next month.

The Roy­als en­tered the BNL last year and have since been giv­ing the more ex­pe­ri­enced teams a run for their money.

The KwaZulu-Natal team played the Suns twice last year, hand­ing them their first de­feat in a maiden en­counter.

Duzi Roy­als cap­tain Cyril Sha­bal­ala said the Suns played with­out skip­per Neo Moth­iba, the heart and soul of the team, on that day.

“His ab­sence on the day was a bless­ing in dis­guise for us and they were a com­pletely dif­fer­ent team with­out him. That’s partly why we won,” he said.

The Roy­als had all the odds in their favour last year – even though the team only prac­tised three times through­out the 2014 sea­son.

This was due to player lo­ca­tions, with some play­ers based in KwaZulu-Natal and oth­ers in Joburg.

How­ever, they still man­aged to make it to the fi­nals, where they lost to the Suns.

Things are dif­fer­ent this year, as most of the play­ers are from Joburg, so there will be more prac­tice time.

Duzi will be fo­cus­ing on their back­line and team­work ahead of the grudge game against the Suns.

“We are go­ing to fo­cus on our de­fence, as that’s where we’ve been lack­ing,” said Sha­bal­ala.

“We’ve also been putting in more work at prac­tice so we can get it right.”

Duzi have also signed a new coach, Dar­ius Di­mav­ičius from Lithua­nia, who shares the club’s vi­sion.

Although Sha­bal­ala said Suns were a bet­ter team, he main­tained his team were more tal­ented.

“Suns are a very de­fen­sive team – that’s where their pedi­gree comes from – but we are more tal­ented.

“If we can get to their level of de­fence with the tal­ent that we have, there’s no doubt we will come out vic­to­ri­ous,” he said.

The KwaZulu-Natal team lost their for­ward, Larry Jack­son, to the Suns, but gained pre­vi­ous Suns guard Lehl­o­gonolo Tholo.

They have also roped in Malian in­ter­na­tional bas­ket­ball player Mo­hamed Tan­gara, who played for the US team Bak­ers­field Jam in the NBA De­vel­op­ment League last year be­fore he was drafted into the BNL. How­ever, he will re­port­edly soon leave the club.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

RISE UP Tsakani Ngob­eni of Duzi Roy­als makes a slam dunk dur­ing a Bas­ket­ball Na­tional League match against Lim­popo Pride at Wem­b­ley Arena

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