Bucks coach still believes
Despite struggling against the drop all season long, Mthatha Bucks coach Velile “Veza” Dyaloyi maintains his side is still on course for survival.
“All we need is to save the team from relegation – whether we finish number 13 or 14 [on the log], we would have survived at the end of the day,” said Dyaloyi ahead of his team’s fixture against fellow rookies Mbombela United at Mthatha Stadium in the Eastern Cape today.
Unlike United, Bucks have endured a rough time in their debut season in the National First Division (NFD), something Dyaloyi believes is a matter of “luck not being on our side”.
United are the surprise contenders in the race for promotion, while Bucks only dragged themselves off the foot of the table thanks to their 2-1 win over Moroka Swallows last weekend, a side they have now beaten twice this season.
“We play good football and create chances, but goals are eluding us. We are getting the team into the right shape – mentally and physically,” said Dyaloyi, who is in his second stint at the Eastern Cape-based club after he succeeded Julius Dube in November. Amathol’amnyama, as Bucks are known to their followers, were two places above the relegation zone before this weekend’s fixtures. With 11 games left, Dyaloyi says his side is determined to build on recent performances, which saw them beat Swallows in Soweto and get a goalless draw against AmaZulu two weeks ago.
“You don’t have to motivate players when you face the sides at the top,” said Dyaloyi in reference to their fixture against United this afternoon.
If there has been a standout factor in Bucks’ bid for survival, it has been veteran striker Moses “Mara” Spandeel.
The 35-year-old is the team’s leading scorer, with four goals, and Dyaloyi described his experienced campaigner as a “disciplined player who relays instructions well on the pitch. He is quick and his experience is carrying the team.”
Bucks lost 3-1 to United in the first round, but Amathol’amnyama will draw inspiration from their decent run at home. They have not lost at Mthatha Stadium since their defeat to Royal Eagles in November last year.
Victory today will see Bucks score rare back-to-back wins, as they have only done so once when they beat Swallows (on December 20) and Santos (on January 12).
Bucks are the Eastern Cape’s only representative in the NFD since Blackburn Rovers – coincidentally Dyaloyi’s former club – were relegated two seasons ago. AmaZulu vs Santos (Princess Magogo Stadium) Milano United vs Royal Eagles (Athlone Stadium)
Both matches kick off at 3.30pm
OLD HEAD Veteran campaigner Moses Spandeel (second from left)
Mthatha Bucks coach