Home Sport Vital points on offer for desperate KZN clubs

Vital points on offer for desperate KZN clubs

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Golden Arrows, AmaZulu, Royal AM and Richards Bay all find themselves in positions they hadn’t targeted ahead of the 2023/24 season, and now need to scramble for points to achieve their objectives in the final stretch.

Pablo Franco Martin, head coach of AmaZulu reacts during the DStv Premiership 2023/24 football match against Royal AM at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 29 December 2023. Picture: Nokwanda Zondi, BackpagePix

Smiso Msomi

The KwaZulu-Natal contingent in the DStv Premiership are expected to return with greater levels of urgency and concentration when the league resumes at the weekend.

Golden Arrows, AmaZulu, Royal AM and Richards Bay all find themselves in positions they hadn’t targeted ahead of the 2023/24 season, and now need to scramble for points to achieve their objectives in the final stretch.

Richards Bay sit second from bottom, having seemingly struggled with the demands of the top flight this season despite playing musical chairs with coaches.

The Natal Rich Boyz have lost six of their last 10 league matches, drawing two and grabbing notable victories against SuperSport United and Cape Town Spurs.

However, their failure to find consistency and resolve has seen them hand Spurs a way back to potential survival since the start of the year.

Bay coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi is facing a tall order as he tries to navigate a difficult set of fixtures when their campaign continues after the international break.

First up is a battle against Arrows, followed by matches against Mamelodi Sundowns, Moroka Swallows, Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town Spurs, with a valuable 15 points on the line.

Sitting 10 points ahead of Richards Bay and two points outside the top eight are AmaZulu in 11th.

While it may not necessarily be reflected in the table, Usuthu have made gradual progress under Spanish coach Pablo Franco Martin, and continue their chase for both cups and a respectable spot in the league.

AmaZulu have advanced to the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup, and will now turn their attention to a clash against TS Galaxy at the weekend, before they take on Polokwane City and Cape Town City.

While a place in the top eight remains mathematically achievable, it might be just out of reach for Usuthu, which means a tussle for the cup title is likely to be top of their priority list.

With bright sparks like midfielder Mlondi Mbanjwa finding their way into Bafana Bafana’s set-up, it can only breathe new life into the AmaZulu camp.

Tenth-placed Royal AM’s lack of growth this season has been hard to watch at times, but coach John Maduka is seemingly on his way to proving his mettle once more.

Thwihli Thwahla were, at some point, seen as a side destined for at least the play-offs, given their inability to sign players.

However, seven points from a potential 12 since the turn of the year have seen the Pietermaritzburg outfit move from relegation candidates to top-eight influencers.

Following a relieving first win in 11 games, Arrows, with new head coach Steve Komphela at the helm, may be aching to get back on the field.

A’bafana Bes’thende will look to push away from any side threatening their top-eight spot right now, with a difficult clash against desperate Richards Bay coming up next on Saturday (3.30pm kick-off).

KZN Teams’ Weekend Fixtures

Saturday – 3.30pm: Golden Arrows vs Richards Bay, Stellenbosch FC vs Royal AM. 5.30pm: TS Galaxy vs AmaZulu

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