Home Sport Maduka allow Royal AM to give up on their Top 8 shot

Maduka allow Royal AM to give up on their Top 8 shot

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Despite a morale-boosting win over Polokwane City and a draw against Golden Arrows, Royal AM have now suffered three losses in their past five outings.

John Maduka head coach of Royal AM. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

Smiso Msomi

Royal AM head coach John Maduka has refused to relinquish his side’s hopes of securing a place in next season’s MTN8 competition.

The Thwihli Thwahla rejuvenation took a huge blow on Sunday, as they were hammered 4-0 by a rampant Orlando Pirates in Pietermaritzburg.

That result left Maduka and his men in 13th place with 29 points in the DStv premiership standings, four points off a place in the Top 8.

Despite a morale-boosting win over Polokwane City and a draw against Golden Arrows, Royal AM have now suffered three losses in their past five outings.

However, the Pietermaritzburg-based outfit have played one less game than all of their nearest competitors, which is an edge Maduka has urged his side to exploit.

“I think it’s still up to us,” he said, ”if you look at the teams that have 33 points and they’ve played one more game than us.

“If we win our game on Wednesday (against SuperSport United), we can go level on points.

“Maybe our goal difference might not be as good but we can still push on.”

“We’re not worried much about what’s coming up behind us, we’re trying our best to focus on what’s happening going forward.

“We have to win our games for us to be okay,” he added.

“We can only think about the positive things. If we can get two or three good results then we are there if you look at how many points number eight has.”

The final five games of the season are expected to have several dramatic twists and turns.

With just six points separating sixth-placed Cape Town City and Royal AM in 13th, the race for the Top 8 is one of the most fiercely contested at this stage of the season.

The fixture list of Thwihli Thwahla is arguably the most difficult out of their competitors with clashes against Matsatsantsa a Pitori on Wednesday (kick-off 7.30pm), followed by Mamelodi Sundowns (twice), Chippa United and Moroka Swallows.

Speaking after the match against Pirates, Maduka expressed that at the core of his team’s issues has been the lack of mental capacity to play through various periods of the game and apply the different demands at that point.

“There are times where we see that we’re competing with the opponents, we’re okay or we’re on top of the opponents and then we become complacent because we feel like we’re okay,” he explained.

“If we can learn to play each and every moment of the game (we’ll be fine), because the moment we relax is usually the moment we get punished.”

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