NELSON Mandela Bay soccer teams competing in the Eastern Cape ABC Motsepe League believe the second half of the league championship will be competitive and exciting.
Highbury (Port Elizabeth), Morning Stars (Kwazakhele) and Real City (Motherwell) completed their first round of league matches last week and will this weekend embark on the second round.
Highbury finished the first round of the league tied on 32 points with log-leaders Tembu Royals, but the Mthatha outfit are leading on goal difference.
City will start the second round in 10th position on the log table with 18 points from 15 games, while Stars are trailing their neighbours in 11th place with 12 points from the same number of games.
Highbury coach Garth Dickinson said he was happy with his team’s placing.
“This is the position I was aiming for from the beginning of the season because my objective was to be inside the top five bracket of the log standings by the end of the first round,” Dickinson said.
“Our next mission is to reach the No 1 spot by the end of the second round because I want to take the team to the promotion playoff for the National First Division.”
Dickinson said they would need to focus on their game and maintain the winning momentum to remain in the chase for league honours.
City coach Bonke Namba said he was expecting a thrilling second round now that his team had learnt the ropes in the first round.
He is happy with 10th position after the side spent the early part of the season at the bottom.
“We’ve learnt a lot from the league’s experienced teams and we now understand the culture of the provincial football league. The team is faced with some challenges of not having a sponsor but that will not dent our mission of claiming a spot in the top eight bracket by the end of the season.”
Namba said the aim was to retain their status in the league for next season. It’s going to be very tight, both at the top and at the bottom because teams will be fighting for the title and for survival.” Disappointed Stars coach, Siyabulela Isaac, said his team failed to achieve their goal of reaching the top eight bracket by the end of the league’s first round.
“It is bad to start the second round in 11th place because our target was to get 25 points from 14 games. The way forward is to treat each and every game in the second round like a cup final game and we are still determined to reach the top eight by the end of the season.” – Mthetho Ndoni