League back in full swing

Motsepe clubs ready for first clashes of year.

After a short festive season break, the Safa Eastern Cape ABC Motsepe second division soccer league will be in full swing this weekend.

The league took a four-week break and clubs took stock of how the season had unfolded, while also looking ahead to the new year.

Four Nelson Mandela Bay-based sides – Highbury (Bridgemead), Real City (Motherwell), Morning Stars (Kwazakhele) and Swartkops Valley (Motherwell), known as Subs, – will return to action.

There are eight weeks left before the start of the season’s second half when the pressure will be on as teams strive to move up the log.

Morning Stars host Zimbane Killers in a clash at Zwide Stadium tonight (5pm).

Stars had a tough start to the season but are hoping to resume their league campaign on a positive note after the Christmas break.

Manager Siyabulela Isaac said the team had struggled to score goals at the beginning of the season.

“Our objective this year is to focus on collecting maximum points [in each match] and we need to start the new year with a good performance,” he said.

“The players are in good spirits and we need to test their strength.”

The in-form Highbury outfit will be out to settle the score in a tough local derby when they clash with Real City at Motherwell’s NU9 Stadium tomorrow (3pm). The teams are set for a grudge match after City defeated Highbury 1-0 last season.

Highbury coach Garth Dickinson said the players were rested after the festive break and their aim was to reach the No 1 spot on the log by the end of the season.

“We did well before the break, although we were not up to the standards we expect because we dropped some points,” he said.

“Our aim this year is to concentrate on improving our position on the log. All the players are back in camp, even though some of them returned rusty.

“We’ve managed to gauge the fitness level of the players by playing practice matches with lower-division league teams to get ready for the new year’s opening games.”

He said his charges would have to be wary against opponents like City, who would be out to prove a point.

City manager Siviwe Mahambehlala said they expected to do even better than last year when they beat the visitors.

“Everything is on track and the players are looking good and in shape, and the team is prepared for the battle.

“We expect them to come out for revenge, whereas from our side we’ll be hoping to better our standard against them.”

Newly promoted Port Elizabeth team Subs will play their first league match of the year against Kokstad Liverpool at Motherwell’s NU2 Stadium today (5pm).

– Mthetho Ndoni 

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