AmaZulu striker Ayanda Dlamini insists there is still a burning desire within the squad to turn a poor season into a great one as they prepare for their Nedbank Cup semifinal against SuperSport United this weekend.
Usuthu, who entered the campaign with high hopes in both the league and cup competitions, face United in Polokwane on Sunday with a potential final against either Mamelodi Sundowns or Free State Stars to come.
“We are proud of what we have achieved for now, but we are still not satisfied,” Dlamini said on Thursday.
“We know there is still a lot of work to be done in these closing weeks of the season and that hard work is already in progress as we prepare for Sunday.
“It is something that was a priority before the season and I think we have every chance of achieving that.”
The Durban club had high ambitions at the start of the season with a top-four Premiership spot among their targets, along with a strong cup run.
But they battled through the initial parts of the campaign and even sacked former coach Manqoba Mngqithi after they failed to win any of their opening six games.
Swede Roger Palmgren, however, has made them strong candidates for a top-six finish in the league.
“We have had a good year so far and things are looking up, even though we haven’t had great results in our last two games,” Dlamini said.
They were beaten by Platinum Stars at home on Saturday and drew with Maritzburg United in the KwaZulu-Natal derby on Tuesday.
“We are hoping to put that behind us in this game,” he said.
“It’s definitely the biggest game of the season for us.”
United's Premiership title aspirations took a knock on Tuesday when they went down 2-1 against pace setters Orlando Pirates, and Dlamini believed the hosts would offer a stiff challenge in search of the cup trophy.
“They will be going all out to win the game, especially after what happened this week,” he said.
“I feel their chances in the league are very slim now.
“So they are bound to shift their focus to the Nedbank Cup because they still have a very good chance there.
“I think they will come out even harder against us to try and win some silverware.” – Sapa