Stars can throw a span­ner in works

Daily Dispatch - - Classified/sport - By MFUNDO PILISO By GAVIN VAN ROOYEN

Obinna Okafor aims to take the bat­tle to Mthatha Bucks when his side Wit­bank Spurs vis­its Amath­o­lam­nyama for their NFD en­counter at Mthatha Sta­dium today.

Amath­o­lam­nyama have not yet con­ceded on home soil but the sea­soned coach said his team will take the fight to Ian Palmer’s side when they meet.

Okafor said he was re­ly­ing on the whole team to do what they do best on the field and did not want to sin­gle out play­ers as “in­di­vid­u­als don’t make a team”.

“I still be­lieve in the com­bi­na­tions we started with in this sea­son’s games where they played three games and won one then drew two.

“Bucks is a very good team and I know their coach Ian. I was close with him since the days he was coach­ing Mar­itzburg United so I have been around him and I’ve mon­i­tored how he coaches.

“He’s a very good coach, he’s a ball play­ing coach and with the knowl­edge I have about him helped me plan our game around him.”

Bucks cap­tain Siya Mn­goma, who has been with STAR of In­dia club man­ager Ameer Wookay says he knows what his Brae­lyn-based side must do to master their big­gest chal­lenge of the year against the premier league cham­pi­ons­e­lect River­side in the bat­tle of the two North End foot­ball gi­ants to­mor­row at 3.30pm at the North End Sta­dium.

Stars suf­fered a 3-2 loss in the first round and will look to avenge that loss.

“It’s time to fo­cus on this one, which will be a hell of a bat­tle. They have been the most con­sis­tent and com­pet­i­tive side in the league this sea­son.”

De­spite ly­ing third the eight­point gap be­tween Stars and ta­ble-top­pers River­side ap­pear to be a bridge too far for the green and whites. How­ever, a top two fin­ish is still up for grabs, as only four points sep­a­rate Wookay’s boys and sec­ond placed Seag­ulls.

Kelly Smith’s River­side need to win two of their re­main­ing three fix­tures to be crowned premier league cham­pi­ons for the sec­ond time in three years.

Star of In­dia Foot­ball Club will be cel­e­brat­ing a unique mile­stone when they host their Amath­o­lam­nyama for two sea­sons now, said they were pre­pared to de­fend their un­beaten run at home as they have not con­ceded at home.

The for­mer Golden Ar­rows goalie was con­fi­dent about his side’s game plan more es­pe­cially since they were the hosts.

“We have a com­mon goal of win­ning ev­ery game we play and the team spirit we have al­lows us to be able to achieve what we set our sights on ev­ery time we play.

“The team has new and young tal­ent as we just signed 17 new guys this sea­son but the good thing about them is that they are an ex­pe­ri­enced bunch that can re­ally play.”

Okafor said he would force Bucks to play where they want them to play as 115th An­niver­sary 12-club se­nior soc­cer tour­na­ment next weekend at North End Sta­dium. The draw takes place tonight at the North End Club­house.

This event will in­clude an eight­team that was his strat­egy go­ing into this game.

“We are not tar­get­ing any of his play­ers we will just play our game and they will play the way we want them to.

“Spurs usu­ally adopt a 34-3 for­ma­tion but we are pre­pared for any­thing as there are no cer­tain­ties in the game.

“Be­cause I can pre­pare for our usu­ally style but then again comes to­mor­row and a player gets sick and we would have to change. So we pre­pared mul­ti­ple for­ma­tions be­cause that’s the dy­nam­ics of the team bear­ing in mind that none of my strik­ers have scored this sea­son.”

Okafor said los­ing Joshua Sauls to Royal Ea­gles was blow to the team as the bril­liant player was U16 knock­out tour­na­ment.

PE-based Sham­rocks, Rangers and Black­pool, with Dur­ban-based Went­worth Clas­sic and Brei­d­bach’s Hel­lenic shall join Cen­tral’s Prides, Buf­falo City Sports Academy, Swaraj, River­side, Seag­ulls, Park­side United and the host in the tour­na­ment draw this evening.

The E L Cen­tral Flavio Sher­win Es­bend U8 Academy is set to take place today at 8am at North End.

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