Duzi Royals ready to dim Suns’ light
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.
RISE UP Tsakani Ngobeni of Duzi Royals makes a slam dunk during a Basketball National League match against Limpopo Pride at Wembley Arena