Stars can throw a spanner in works
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.