Home Sport Coach confident Natal Rich Boyz won’t be distracted by cup run

Coach confident Natal Rich Boyz won’t be distracted by cup run

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In extremely hot conditions, the Natal Rich Boyz battled past Polokwane City in an entertaining match at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday.

Vusumuzi Vilakazi, head coach of Richards Bay FC. Picture: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

Smiso Msomi

Richards Bay head coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi refused to get caught up in the celebrations after his side sealed their passage to the round of 16 of the Nedbank Cup.

In extremely hot conditions, the Natal Rich Boyz battled past Polokwane City in an entertaining match at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday.

The KwaZulu-Natal-based outfit put aside their worries in the DStv Premiership to put up a brave performance against Rise and Shine and win their second game under Vilakazi.

Ahead of the encounter, “Kanu” did not hide the fact that his priority was to save the club from possible relegation but promised to give every effort towards yet another cup run this season.

The club was knocked out at the semi-final stage of the Carling Knockout Cup in the first round of the season.

And now, into their second campaign in the top flight of South African football, Richards Bay currently occupy 15th spot in the league and are six points from safety with 13 matches to go.

The 41-year-old mentor downplayed his side’s progression into the next round but did highlight the positive influence it would have on the team’s morale in the coming matches.

He also denied suggestions that another cup run would be a distraction in their fight for survival.

“With us, I think only two things are important, the confidence to go into the next game and to psychologically make the players believe in themselves and that they can win games,” he said.

“So, I know people are saying it (the Nedbank Cup) will distract us and all that but if you want to do well in the league you still need to be confident enough first.

“If we can use these games to do such a thing – so that it will have an impact going forward – then so be it.”

Richards Bay’s latest victory was also a coming of age for one of their most exciting prospects as 22-year-old Thulani “Sasko” Gumede lit up uMlazi with a well-taken brace.

The Durban-born man, in just his second season in the top flight, managed to bag the player-of-the-match accolade as well, a first in his professional career.

Vilakazi, who has toyed around with his attacking options in his first three matches at the helm, explained that Gumede’s fine showing was a result of upliftment in personality and belief.

“He has always been doing well,” he revealed.

“Before he left the changing room (on Saturday), I told him he must go again because he does have the ability but he doesn’t believe in himself.

“If you take him and Moses (Mthembu), they are both technically sound but they just need that confidence.

“In terms of all-round play, he was not the best today but he had an impact before he drove the team forward and luckily he was able to score two goals.”

Richards Bay will now turn their attention to a crucial league encounter against relegation rivals Royal AM next.

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