Home Sport Royal AM telling a different story in training and matches, says Maduka

Royal AM telling a different story in training and matches, says Maduka

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Royal AM coach John Maduka has attributed his side’s inconsistency throughout the season to the club’s inability to sign players in the past two transfer windows.

John Maduka, Coach of Royal AM FC. Picture: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

Smiso Msomi

Royal AM coach John Maduka has attributed his side’s inconsistency throughout the season to the club’s inability to sign players in the past two transfer windows.

Thwihli Thwahla were handed a transfer ban by Fifa last year after a contractual dispute with former striker Samir Nurkovic. The club were ordered to pay the Serbian – who now plays for TS Galaxy – R12 million or remain blocked from signing new players until they did.

Royal AM were also handed a second ban at the start of this year, one which they stated was wrongfully handed out to them and that they would be seeking to overturn via the right avenues.

The KwaZulu-Natal outfit could not be reached on Wednesday to clarify if there had been progress on these two matters.

However, on the field, Maduka has done the best he could with the available group, but has opened up for the first time this season about the difficulties caused by the ban.

Speaking to the media after his side suffered their third loss in four games, a 1-0 defeat against bottom-placed Cape Town Spurs at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday night, the Malawian-born mentor broke down the hardships he’s had to contend with this season.

The club currently sit one place above the relegation zone, having collected 29 points in 27 games this season.

“These are the players that we have. If you look at our team and you look at the previous seasons and you check how many seasoned players played each and every (game), you find that it’s only (Thabo) Matlaba and maybe a bit of (Kabelo) Mahlasela,” Maduka said.

“But it’s not many of them. So, we have most of the players that would play one game, two games. Most of them are not used to playing 24, 25 games or so …

“So, most of the players that we have are players that used to come in as a sub. They come in and play two games, after that they disappear (ten) they come back again.

Now, to make them play week in, week out, I think that’s why we’ve had inconsistency in so many games.

“And again, when you have whatever you have, you just try to work on it, and then if on a day he’s on top form, he gives you what you want. But it’s really hard, especially the ban. We are starting to feel it now … especially the players we have that are not seasoned players.

“But that’s how it is – there’s nothing we can do. At training sometimes we look OK and come to the game, it’s a different story – it becomes a problem.

“So, what can we do? We continue working, and try to make sure that we save the team so that the team is safe.”

It’s highly unlikely that Royal AM would be dragged into the play-offs, even though it’s still mathematically possible with four games of the season remaining.

Thwihli Thwahla will play back-to-back home and away games against champions Mamelodi Sundowns next, with the first on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off) in Atteridgeville, before facing Chippa United, as well as Moroka Swallows.

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